I ran into Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes during my short time judging the Daddy Real's The Real Thing competition. Strangely, the battle of the bands had a seemingly out-of-proportional population of young (like, really young) competitors for the value of the prize offered (a one-year record deal, press kit and time in the studio to make an album). I sat through a collection of young bands - and nothing against young bucks trying their hand at the record deal; we all know great bands that started as young'uns - but I was relieved when Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes took the stage. They looked old enough to drive, at least.
After they launched into their first song - each group was allowed two - I realized, not only were they old enough to drive, they were seasoned hard -rocking professionals. They're a big deal in their hometown of Kokomo, too. Why wouldn't they be? Their '70s rock riffs and more modern funk sounds are catchy as hell and even more fun to watch.
In fact, they're a big enough deal in Kokomo that when they needed help, the town rallied. Bassist Tommy Kinne woke one morning in March unable to hear. He had experienced ringing in his ears - not atypical for musicians - for some time. But the sudden deafness was devastating for the musician, who'd spent years working at the bass.
With the help of his bandmates, Kinne was able to adapt, learning to play the same basslines on sight cues. Perhaps that's why, when I saw them in April, they were such a stunning presence on stage. Calculated, but not cold; perfectly together, but still organic. And after a fundraiser in September, Kinne is a few steps closer to being able to hear again, with the help of hearing aids.
A bit of time has passed since, but I happily stumbled upon a listing for the group at the Rock House Cafe tomorrow. I heartily encourage you to spend a bit of time with Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes. Their second EP, The Anti-Boondoggling Movement (these guys obviously have a soft spot for names that are a mouthful. Perhaps not a surprise: the lead singer's last name is Schimmelpfennig, after all) is on the way.
"Mr. Welker" by Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes
"In the Summertime" cover by Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes