By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
It's been 25 years since Shallow Reign's first show, 23 years since the release of their debut self-titled LP and 19 years since the band, which at their apex counted themselves among the heaviest hitters of the 1980s Deep Ellum heyday, called it quits. The band members just stopped talking. Their time together had run its course. Just another glory-days story gone sour, it seemed.
Until, oddly enough, a chance reunion at a Chinese restaurant in North Austin in 2006. Two band members—drummer Jan Paul Davidsson and bassist Mark Thomas—stumbled upon each other in the dining room, struck up a conversation, rekindled their friendship and, as friends are wont to do, started blowing smoke about getting the old gang back together. Then: a call from some of their Deep Ellum contemporaries—Jeffrey Liles and Russell Hobbs, both formerly of the Theatre Gallery and now of the Kessler Theatre and the Prophet Bar respectively—looking to throw a reunion show called Full Circle and bringing the bands from that time back together for one big blowout. Davidsson and Thomas reached out to fellow founding member, guitarist Bob Watson, brought him back into the fold and also called in one-time guitarist Kit Chambers. The lineup was complete, and on December 5 as part of the Full Circle event at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, the band played its first show in decades.
More important, their creative spark was rekindled: This weekend at the Kessler Theatre, the band celebrates the release of a new album—and a double-album at that. Called Reflection, the disc contains all the songs of the band's debut LP, as well as another nine tracks of unreleased material from that time period. And, at the performance, the psych-rock band will also unveil a new song—their first in 23 years.
Everything old is, indeed, new again.