Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shook Twins, Stone Seed and Grand Falconer @ the Egyptian Theatre (9/20/13)

I'd never seen the Shook Twins before, but I'd been curious about them for a while, especially since Katelyn and Laurie Shook were born and raised in Idaho.  Indeed, I was so interested in them that I pitched a feature on them to the Boise Weekly (which I thought came out rather well overall).  Anyway, I also got a chance to check out this show thanks to my job.

I counted about 130 people when I got to the Egyptian Theatre.  I don't know how many were there when the Shook Twins played.  I don't know how many people went down to Tom Grainey's to wish a happy birthday to To Entertain U's Seth Brown either (happy belated birthday to him, by the way).

Grand Falconer opened the show.  I'd remembered this local band being good, but I didn't remember them being this good.  Their blend of folk and indie-rock sounded sharper and more balanced than it did before.  They complemented their ringing guitar, warm cello and clean three-part harmonies with stomping, syncopated rhythms.  Their playful, self-deprecating banter was most welcome as well.  Guitarist Michael Johnson joked about their being notoriously awkward onstage, but they didn't seem that way to me (or they were comfortable in their awkwardness, at least).  Over half the crowd was on its feet by the set's end, and those who weren't nodded to the beat in their seats.  I'll look forward to this group's new EP, which they said they've been working on these past eight months (thought it had been a while since I'd seen their name around).

Stone Seed played next.  When the Weekly feature on the Shooks got shared around on Facebook, this band tagged me in a comment asking what they needed to do to get mentioned in the article.  A little pissy, perhaps, but they did kinda have a right--I try to make it a point to mention the openers in my articles, but unfortunately, it slipped my mind with this one.  My bad.  Anyway, this roots group's high energy and smooth grooves did a good job of filling the space of the Egyptian.  Idyltime's Beth Mason looked a little stiff on standup bass (she'd only played with the band for a couple of weeks at this point), but Ty Clayton's guitar and Benett Barr's djembe held down the rhythm just fine.  Lindsey Terrell's sultry harmonies meshed nicely with Clayton's gritty baritone drawl, and her elegant violin solos gave the music some extra spark.  People danced off to the sides, in the aisles and in their seats.

The Shook Twins closed out the night.  I imagine that if, at any point in the proceedings, Katelyn and Laurie Shook came across as smug or calculating, I might have found their plaintive folk tunes and pristine harmonies unbearable (not to mention touches like the Lite Brite that read "SHOOK TWINS" that sat at the foot of the stage).  But since they came across as thoughtful, warm, funny and endearing as Katelyn Shook did when I interviewed her, said tunes and harmonies won me over completely.  As did their sprightly beats, skillful beatboxing and subtle looping.  Indeed, between their offhandedly sophisticated musicianship, their smart, slightly off-kilter lyrics and their expansive, generous spirit (an a capella Tears for Fears cover--why not?), I'm halfway tempted to call them the only real 21st century folk band.  But that sounds way too pretentious for this music, so I'll just say that this was easily one of the best shows I've seen this year.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to the Record Exchange, To Entertain U and Idaho Live.

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