The promise of indie folk enticed students to the student union Starbucks, but Shane and Emily had so much to offer. The traveling singer-songwriter duo brought their talents to the University of Nevada, Reno, on Wednesday, March 28.
Part of the university’s Coffee House Series, the multi-faceted couple played a show in the university Starbucks, displaying vocal and instrumental talent. The show lasted from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is part of a lineup of musicians booked by the university.
The atmosphere at Starbucks was cozy and engaging. The venue is perfect for students, allowing them to experience live music while enjoying coffee and a study break.
After a student opener, the crowd gathered around and Shane and Emily entered around 7 p.m.
Shane and Emily engaged the crowd with a plethora of instruments. The duo cultivated a wholesome and broad musical experience by mixing original tracks with delightful covers.
Emily’s angelic vocals layered over Shane’s guitar to create the perfect synthesis of musical elements. Several times during the show, Emily’s vocals faded out to leave Shane wailing on his keyboard, unleashing savage piano solos.
The performance lasted about an hour and featured songs from their entire discography. Their final song, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” showed their ability to creatively re-imagine hit songs.
Their fantastic takes on folk and acoustically-dominated music innovated and paid homage to the classic genres. “Our Shane and Emily project is influenced by artists like Ed Sheeran, The Civil Wars and Coldplay,” Emily said. “Bob Dylan is definitely an influence too,” Shane added.
All throughout the performance Shane and Emily displayed their infectious positive attitudes. They paused to speak to the crowd, laughed and ultimately had a blast, making it impossible not to enjoy the show.
Freshman bio major Gaurav Grewal sat with his books in hand, setting them aside to enjoy the music. “It’s fantastic because it’s live, providing energy that’s unavailable from the radio,” Grewal said.
AN INTRODUCTION TO SHANE AND EMILY
The duo joined together at an open mic in Tampa Bay in the summer of 2012. A friend realized their mutual love for music, and they’ve been together ever since.
Their first album, “Hi, we’re Shane and Emily,” released Sept. 23, 2015. Later that year they bought an RV and hit the road, looking to tour the United States and spread their music.
They certainly live a romantic lifestyle. A couple of musical Supertramps, they bounce all over the country playing shows at colleges, venues and even Disneyland.
Colleges are their preferred venue, for multiple reasons. “When we play at colleges there is more freedom with our music, it’s more focused on the artists themselves,” Emily said. “It’s also better financially,” Shane added.
The duo is currently under transformation, shifting from the self-titled “Shane and Emily,” to “Arbour Season.”
Their new project, “Arbour Season,” draws on different inspirations. “Arbour Season is a whole new project, which we’re planning on releasing soon. It will possibly have more folk influences,” Emily said.
The pair is ready to continue producing music, and seek to continue expanding their audience. “Plans for the future include more original music, and sold out shows at larger venues,” Shane said. “We like small venues, but it would be pretty awesome to play at a big concert hall and have it sell out.”
Although they aren’t opposed to gaining exposure, the duo is wary of becoming too large. “We’ve seen the process for getting hugely famous, and as fame increases, so do limitations,” Emily said. “It’s important for us to have all of the creative freedom, not to be restricted. It’s also nice to be able to make our own schedule, and to say no if to things if we want to.”
The duo are no strangers to fame. They’ve experienced large success, scoring consistent gigs at Disney, as well as being scouted for The Voice.
The most recent addition to their family is a cat that occasionally joins them on stage, Jimmeny Mittens. They recently parted ways with their cat of two years, Boot Scoop, due to urination issues.
BEHIND THE CURTAINS
This intimate evening wouldn’t have been possible without the orchestration by the Coffee House team. Marketing coordinator Morgan Zuziak organized the event with staff members Kaitlyn Rhoads and Savannah Schauer.
Schauer’s and Rhoads’s love of music draws them to organize Coffee House events. “I’m actually a student of medicine, but I’ve always loved music and concerts,” Schauer said.
The Coffee House Series not only allows students to enjoy live music without leaving campus but provides an interesting opportunity to those wishing to get involved in the music industry. “I’ve always loved music. Festivals like Outside Lands in San Francisco, or seeing the band the Neighborhood when I was 16 influenced me to go toward the music industry,” Rhoads said.
The process of organizing these events is complex and is comprised of finding artists to perform, finding places to sponsor the event and organizing the logistics.
THE TECHNICAL SIDE
The orchestration of these events is equally complex. Eldrian Oliver, Joe Crowley Student Union sound technician, worked constantly during the show, ensuring proper mixing of sound.
Oliver also loves music and attended the Las Vegas Academy of The Arts before coming to Reno. “Before the show, we’re given a list of instruments the musicians will use,” Oliver said. “Then, about 2 hours before we make sure the sound routing is correct and that everything goes smoothly.”
The Coffee House Series typically occurs biweekly, featuring interesting local and general musicians. This continues most of the length of each semester, stopping short of finals when students become increasingly busy.