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Behind the Scenes With Shakey Graves: Exclusive Photos of New York Show

The frenetic folk outfit hits the Big Apple for a milestone show and takes Rolling Stone Country along for the ride

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves during soundcheck at their New York show

Nicole Fara Silver

Armed with a Mercedes Sprinter and some wicked senses of humor, Austin alt-folk outfit Shakey Graves is in the midst of its biggest tour yet in support of their second studio album, And the War Came.

Originally just the moniker of actor-turned musician Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the former one-man band has evolved into a formidable trio of troublemakers, releasing a raggedly original folk-pop LP through Dualtone earlier this month. The boys shared their tour tips and stories from the road with Rolling Stone Country in this exclusive photo gallery, made up of shots taken in the East Village, where they wined and dined before their Bowery Ballroom show.


Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014 making a makeshift guitar strap

Trust in Soundcheck

"This tour has been about just sort of trusting the music gods," says Rose-Garcia, pictured re-stringing one of the many guitars onstage. "We've been really getting better at learning how important soundcheck is — which sounds stupid and obvious — but especially when you're playing with more people and there's unrehearsed songs and stuff. Getting our song flow in. Each show has something we take out or add in so we've kind of just been building as we go. The venues are bigger. Crowds are bigger."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014 soundcheck

Shuffling the Playlist

"We just put Black Sabbath's Vol. 4 back on rotation for a little bit," says drummer Chris 'Boo' Boosahda when it comes to Shakey Graves' favorite artists to jam to. "As soon as this tour started I pulled out Tusk by Fleetwood Mac. I feel like Tusk doesn't get a lot of attention and I don't really understand it. It's so good, there are so many songs on it, and some of them whip amazing ass. We have a pretty mixed up playlist. We'll go from that to [rapper] Riff Raff or I'll put on Katy Perry and everybody gets mad." The band takes a similar approach to their soundchecking routine, pictured here warming up to Nirvana's "Scentless Apprentice" before seamlessly transitioning into R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

Urban Explorers

"We usually go to a nice restaurant…get our martinis," says Boosahda on Shakey Graves' preshow ritual. "You only have a little bit of time in each city so the more time we have to absorb something the more we'll try. Just take off on foot from the venue and pray to God. We'll still do stuff like eat sushi in Kansas. Defrosted fish never tasted so reasonable."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Not Stirred

O'Connor and Boosahda make a toast to the finer things in life while waiting for dinner to arrive. "The martini tradition was started when we were going out with Shovels & Rope," muses Rose-Garcia. "Since we were the opener, we would load in and sound check and have essentially under an hour, and the quickest way to be immediately 'not drunk' was going and having a martini in that space of time and then going and having a beer onstage — it was the perfect recipe. But now when we have five hours to kill, it's different every single place every single day."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves (Christopher Boosahda- drummer, and Esme Patterson), Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

Green Room With a View

"We get all our news from In Touch magazine. We are in touch," jokes Boosahda, pictured here with singer Ésme Patterson while relaxing in the green room before the show.

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Christopher Boosahda- drummer, and friend), Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

Bed, Breakfast and Vinyl

When it comes to Airbnb pro tips, Rose-Garcia has learned to "always get the entire home as opposed to just one room in someone's crib. The difference between $30 or $50 on Airbnb can be like the whole world. Getting a really dope crib, that's what's up. There was a Japanese palace in Minneapolis that was absolutely insane. He was a hi-fi audio guy and his whole house was like a Japanese art piece designed for an audiophile." "You gotta be respectful though," adds O'Connor. "That's the tip, because you get a rating too, so for the good spots you gotta be respectful. We didn't use his turntable. We left him a vinyl."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

Lucky and Good

"My main goal is to blow up and act like I don't know nobody!" blurts Rose-Garcia, in a scarily precise impression of jokester hip-hop artist Riff Raff. Switching to an avuncular fake Boston accent, he offers his take on Shakey Graves' recent success: "Luck's relative!"

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia, and his father) , Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

Seize the Moment

In the midst of a crowd-surfing debate backstage, Rose-Garcia says, "Louisville was like our little baby arena show. We were duck-walking across the stage and axe fighting. We just went for it. It was amazing. We've tried to do it in other places but that's the kinda stuff you can't force. At one point we were rubbing our guitars together and shit and then the next night, it's like, 'Ehhh… is this the part, Patrick?' We did it the next night and he ended up rubbing the neck of his guitar on my butt and it was like, the opposite of really cool. It was still endearing I guess."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) prepares to go on stage, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

An Army of (More Than) One

"We have so many more people onstage this tour. I'd done the one-man band thing for a long time, and then Boo and I did the two-person thing for a long time," offers Rose-Garcia as the biggest difference between this trek and Shakey Graves' previous runs. "And then we essentially started this tour with a six-piece band at points during the show, which was unrehearsed and flying by the seat of our pants. It worked really well though."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) performs wiht Esme Patterson, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

Grease Is the Word

"Ésme and I do a couple covers that are all tongue-in-cheek. We do a cover of 'Love Fool' by the Cardigans. We slow it down a lot and it's actually a pretty crazy song. When we're feeling particularly squirrely we do the song from Grease: 'You're the One That I Want,'" says Rose-Garcia. "It's fun to kick it out and be like, 'This is a very old song my grandfather's grandfather taught him. Classic American tune.' I do Disney covers also…'Kiss the Girl' [from The Little Mermaid]. I haven't done 'A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes' in a while but that's a favorite."

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves, Bowery Ballroom New York City 10/26/2014

New York Groove

"We definitely won't freeze up," replies Rose-Garcia when teased about playing Shakey Graves' second New York show. "It's about not freezing up when a new thing is presented. When it hits, it hits and when it doesn't, it doesn't. It's like, 'Oh, let's try this new thing out in front of 800 people tonight.' Just chill out everybody. We just gotta go in there and have fun like always. More fun than always. We don't give a fuck about New York. We're here to have fun. There's a lot of fun to be had."