Shovels and Rope at Metro, 09.26.2013
w/ Shakey Graves
This is the continuation of the Shakey Graves/Shovels and Rope show at Metro. I had high expectations after Shakey rocked the house, and I wasn't sure what to expect from Shovels and Rope. After listening to their song "Who's Gonna Raise These Babies" on YouTube, I wasn't thrilled at their music. But I told myself that I'd stick around to hear what they had to say (I was going to get my money's worth at least). Shovels and Rope came out on stage, just the two of them; Michael Trent, sat down in front of a sideways positioned drum setup (bass, snare, cymbal, tambourine) while Cary Ann Hearst strapped on her acoustic-electric guitar. (Ahem, The White Stripes much..) And then I was proved wrong, song after song, for the next hour and a half.
The majority of their songs are high-energy, guitar driven folk-southern rock tunes. The duo harmonizes well together - but Michael's voice isn't as distinctive as Cary Ann's voice. I'd compare hers to a mixture of Dolly Parton with Gwen Stefani. Interesting, right? She's got a raspy but still country quality, which is actually quite captivating. They also perform facing each other for the most part and share the mic often, so that was something new - there's definitely have a chemistry that makes for a really intense and synchronized show (also after some research, I learned that they are married! ha, makes sense). So the two were going along, putting on a really fun show (some of the front-row audience members were really into it!) and then to my surprise, they completely switched it up. Cary Ann took a seat at the drums, and Michael took to the electric guitar (and harmonica occasionally). It's so impressive to me when someone can sing and play just one instrument at the same time, so to see them both completely switch to a different instrument was pretty mind-blowing. And let me say, they both play all of their instruments really well. I did enjoy Michael's turn at singing/guitar playing a bit more, maybe because he played with more blues-rock attitude (and unfortunately, her voice can get a little bit annoying after a while). But check out the video I posted - I really liked that song, think it's called "Tell The Truth"..unfortunately, I don't think it's on their album, O' Be Joyful. Also, sorry I can't go through a more detailed set list, but I wasn't familiar with their songs - from what I remember they did play "Hail, Hail", "Birmingham", "Lay Low", and "O' Be Joyful". Additionally, there was a slow song that Michael wrote a while back for the tornado victims in Oklahoma, which was nice.
All in all, this band from Charleston, SC is definitely one to watch out for. They do a lot of festivals (they came to Lollapalooza this past year) and put on a really interesting performance.Their live versions are heavy on the guitar and snare/bass drum, and I think I actually prefer the raw versions with just vocals, guitar, and drums as opposed to their more layered studio tracks. A ton of chemistry, great energy, and just a fun get-up-off-your-feet kind of show. This two man family band is definitely on my radar now!
PS. Also..their vinyl is white. Beyond cool!