Renshaw Davies

Renshaw Davies performs as the headlining group at The Thought Lot in Shippensburg on Sept. 22.

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At Shippensburg’s Thought Lot, a wave of acoustic guitar and harmonious singing swept over the audience last Friday night.

Opener Cody Wilt, of McConnellsburg, brought soulful Southern rock, while Renshaw Davies, a dream-pop duo whose self-proclaimed goal is to “make you happy and sad at the same time” filled the stage with music-based storytelling.

Local to the Midstate region, Cody Wilt returned to the Thought Lot stage to share some new songs and excite the audience for the evening’s headliner. His ability to shift between upbeat folk rock and soothing love songs reminded me of bands like Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes.

While sharing the story behind his song “Two Brothers,” which ended in an altercation behind a bar, Wilt exclaimed, “Man, I love writing songs.”

Following Wilt, the headlining duo took to the stage with John Renshaw on guitar and vocals and Emily Davies on vocals and percussion.

They explained that their set would tell the story of their musical careers while intertwining some new songs.

The set opened with “Going down the Road,” which expressed the duo’s disinterest in money as an object: “When the money’s all gone/I don’t care at all/ The money’s all gone/but I’ll keep moving on.”

However, their next song, “Auctioneer,” diverged from “Going down the Road” and followed Renshaw Davies during their stressful attempt to record their first EP and their constant chase after gigs and the ever-necessary search for cash.

As Renshaw Davies switched into songs that they had only ever rehearsed, more complex themes emerged, including a song about social media whose lyrics, “are you with us/or are you not,” left a haunting impression on the listener.

Though the dreamy lullabies defined the band, the evening was not devoid of exciting anthems. Despite their wistful reputation, crowd favorite, “I can see through you, you can see through me” had the audience on the edge of their seat as the duo suddenly increased tempo and left listeners wanting more. They ended their set with selections from their 2017 summer EP “The Heat.”

Shippensburg’s Thought Lot provides worthwhile concerts from upcoming artists nationwide, and Renshaw Davies was no exception. Direct from New Orleans, Louisiana, the band’s use of simple percussive instruments as well as acoustic guitar was noteworthy. However, it was the duo’s vocals that sets them apart. The swelling harmonies would crescendo to fill the entire room before returning back to a soothing whisper to let listeners know that the song would soon come to a close.

The two-act concert was a genre breaker from beginning to end, from Cody Wilt’s tribute to Southern Rock anthems all the way to Renshaw Davies’ moving performance.

For more information on the Thought Lot and future performances and exhibits, visit it on Facebook or go to its website at www.thethoughtlot.rocks.

Jessica Chernich is a student at Shippensburg University and is in the Reviewing the Arts for Publication class.

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