Charleston duo Shovels and Rope threw down an energetic countrified rock show Sunday night in Bloomington, offering anything-but-subtle hints that they're on their way to something much, much bigger than what the tiny Bishop bar can hold.
We'll go ahead and get the obligatory White Stripes comparison out of the way: Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst's musical partnership is thankfully different than their similarly raw predecessor, with an interplay more fun and more equitable (both played drums; both played guitar) than the one Jack White lorded over.
They lit into their performance with "Gasoline" and proceeded to implicitly encourage many of the packed house's members to stomp their feet in time (or what counted as time in some alcohol-drenched minds) throughout the show. The crowd went especially crazy for college radio staple "Hail Hail", during which Trent traded his percussion role for Hearst's guitar.
Catch this duo next time they come near--likely to a larger venue--for a lively show that'll likely lead to much bigger things.
We'll see what becomes of opener Carey Murdock. The Nashville-based, spirited singer-songwriter played for just a few dozen people awaiting Shovels and Rope and couldn't be faulted for trying in a set that came across as a VH-1 "Storytellers" episode, with spoken backstory leading up to every song. Tunes riddled with cliches didn't help his performance become more memorable, but self-deprecating humor and evident passion for his livelihood worked in his favor.