Nothing says spring quite like a golden egg and an elephant’s revival. That was the scene at The State Room on Friday night. The Shook Twins, sporting their signature eggs, mesmerized the crowd with their hypnotic, siren vocals. Co-headliner, and former front man of Elephant Revival, Daniel Rodriguez warmed our hearts with transcendental folk ballads. He opened the show with “Through The Static,” a new song off his recently released album Vast Nothing. His 11-song set included deeper cuts from his growing catalog of post-Elephant Revival music.
Rodriguez finds his muse in many places. For example,“Delores” is a love song about a river, not a woman. He shared a story about traveling through Southwest Colorado one summer, in an old Mitsubishi with a broken A/C. The river – Delores – beckoned. Instead of stopping and refreshing himself in her cool water, he wrote her a song. “Delores I come to you broken and bruised/ it’s in your embrace I soak and I soothe/ to heal and mend these wounds.” With “Johnny” he took us to the borderlands and featured fine drum, bass, and trumpet solos from his backing band. The crowd sang along to his final two numbers, an unexpected cover of Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” and “Sing to the Mountain” from his Elephant Revival catalog.
The Shook Twins began their full, 17-song set on stage alongside their signature, large golden eggs. The twins, Katelyn on guitar and vocals, and Laurie on banjo and vocals, were backed by Niko Slice on guitar, Aber Miller on bass and keyboards, and Alex Radakovich on drums. They opened with the slow-building, trippy cadence and alluring twin-harmonies featured in “No Choice” from their 2019 album Some Good Lives.
The State Room audience were treated to a sneak-peak of the twins’ newest music. They are using their aptly named Bloom Tour to beta-test new material before retreating into the studio later this year. In all, they played 4 soon-to-be recorded songs and a reworked, older tune, “Time to Swim,” mixing rap with ethereal, siren-like vocals. The Shook Twins are evolving as they experiment with vocal syncopation and other sonic textures like telephone mic distortion. Their early acoustic guitar and banjo folk sound has morphed into indie-pop-folk with electronica overtones.
The crowd joined into an impromptu singalong when The Shook Twins covered Whitney Houston’s pop-anthem “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Their perfectly balanced harmonies gave the ‘80s hit a rootsy restoration. They followed that anthem with a cover of an obscure Elephant Revival song “In Love and Rage” (which I hope they plan to record with Daniel Rodriguez).
Entering the homestretch, the entire ensemble took the stage for “Safe.” Rodriguez took lead vocals on his Elephant Revival song “Grace of a Woman” followed by the twins taking over for a few verses of 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up?” For an encore, The Shook Twins serenaded us with their post-apocalyptic song “Shake,” a song that would provide a perfect soundtrack for an episode of The Last of Us.
Rodriguez and The Shook Twins were in full Bloom playing familiar favorites alongside some new music and a few well-selected covers. It truly was a Good Friday.
Who: The Shook Twins and Daniel Rodriguez
What: Bloom Tour
Where: The State Room
When: April 7, 2023