BONNERS FERRY — The Pearl Theater reverberated with music and laughter on the Friday after Thanksgiving, as the Shook Twins — with special guest John Craigie — took to the stage in something that has become a Black Friday tradition for Boundary County.
The Shook Twins have been appearing in Bonners Ferry for eight years now, and this is the fifth time for John Craigie. From the packed theater, it was obvious they have many fans in Boundary County.
Craigie opened the show with a blend of music and witty banter that had the audience laughing out loud. With a guitar in hand and a harmonica around his neck, he brought a comfortable vibe to the theater with his own songs, as well as a cover of the Shook Twins’ song, “Safe.”
On a somber note at the end of his performance, Craigie sang a song about California, recounting his experience at a recent show there. Despite the California show having been sold out, only about half the people showed up due to people being evacuated because of the fires. The lyrics took the audience on a haunting journey of the love for a state that is now burning, and the emotion it evoked was reflected in the wistful and saddened eyes of the audience.
After a brief intermission, where Craigie came to his booth to sell merchandise and talk with the patrons, the Shook Twins took the stage. They had a full band backing them up that filled the theater with blend of different sounds and instruments. The Shook Twins were Katelyn Shook on guitar, Laurie Shook on the banjo, Niko Slice on the mandolin and electric guitar, Sydney Nash with bass and trumpet, Justin Landis playing keys and bass, and Barra Brown on the drums.
The sisters called the experience “bittersweet” as it was one of the last times they would all play together, due to musicians moving on to pursue other projects.
When the identical twins Katelyn and Laurie Shook were 18, they began writing songs together and in 2008 they debuted their album, “You Can Have The Rest.” Their music is a blend of folk, alternative, and indie, and the combined power of their harmonic voices, with a variety of ever changing instruments wove a tapestry of sound throughout the theater. Even a passing train added to the ambiance of the evening with its horn, rather than taking away from the performance.
Despite Katelyn Shook feeling under the weather, her voice did not appear compromised as she and her sister hit and sustained notes that had the audience clapping and cheering. The twins and their band put on a performance reminiscent of sitting in on a jam session of friends, yet gleamed with the polished notes of a well rehearsed team.
“I caught the Alaskan scurvy,” Katelyn Shook told the audience, explaining how she, her sister, and band member Niko Slice had just returned from Alaska.
The joking continued throughout the performance, making the audience feel like they were among friends. As the musicians rotated through a plethora of instruments, one of the twins laughed with a band member as he set down the trumpet after one song ended.
“Play the one that is just a straight tube now,” she said to him, elicited a chuckle from the audience is he picked up a flute.
Later in the performance, the duo covered the Cranberries’ song, “Dreams,” which had some of the younger audience whooping and cheering. Despite a slight mishap during the vocals, the audience enjoyed the performance, laughing along with the twins and applauding boisterously at the end.
For the Shook Twins, performing in Bonners Ferry is akin to coming home since they were originally from Sandpoint.
“We love coming home and playing these shows,” Laurie Shook told the audience between songs.
The Shook Twins brought Craigie back out to perform with them during the show, for a beautiful blend of voices that the audience showed their appreciation for. At the end of the performance, they returned for an encore, bringing the audience to their feet.
“The Twins are mesmerizing,” said fan and audience member, Dawn Wagner. “They really are; they are just so eclectic. World class music in Bonners Ferry.”
“We love the tradition of playing both of these shows in our ‘home court’ every year,” said Katelyn Shook in an interview after the show. “This year was the eighth annual, and we always love coming to Bonners Ferry because of the kind staff at the Pearl, and the supportive, loving crowd we keep getting each year.”
To their fans in Boundary County, Katelyn had this to say: “Thank you! Thank you for continuing to come to this Black Friday show every year and giving your support of our music and John Craigie’s as well.”