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  • Writer's pictureMike Conway

Shinyribs, Hi-Fi, Indianapolis

I finally got a chance to see Kevin Russell's post-Gourds project, Shinyribs, live last night. It's rare for many of my favorite Austin musicians to tour in Indiana, especially with a large band like Shinyribs.

A Shinyribs show is quite the experience. After just one song, you know why they have won the Austin Music Award "Band of the Year" honors the past two years. A mash-up of all kinds of musical styles, from gospel, soul, rock-n-roll, disco, country, and cajun, described by the band as "country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle."

Russell is joined by former Gourd's drummer Keith Langford, as well as Dave Brown on bass and Winfield Cheek on keyboards. A few years ago, the band expanded to include the Shiny Soul Singers (Alice Spencer) and the Tijuana Trainwreck horn section (Tiger Anaya, Mark Wilson. Mainly, they all seem like they are having a lot of fun on stage, which was contagious for the Hi-Fi crowd.

Russell is the centerpiece of a Shinyribs show, from his flashy clothes to his constant motion and interesting dance moves. He switches between electric guitar and ukelele throughout the show and leaves more than enough room for the other members to shine.

Just like his work with the Gourds (Gin & Juice, Gangsta Lean), Russell loves to take other people's songs and put his own spin on them. The Indy show featured a little bit of Bloomington's own John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" tucked into a cover of "Bitch Better Have my Money."

The show ended w/ a Shinyribs tradition: a conga line led by Kevin Russell. He jumped off the stage and led the audience around the club a few times before getting back on stage for the rest of the song. This is definitely a band you want to see live.

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