by Steve Chapman
Special to The Mail
Vaudeville comes to Salida at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Austin, Texas, duo Paper Moon Shiners returns to Benson’s Tavern & Beer Garden, 128 N. F St.
Just don’t expect a traditional concert.
As much performance artists as musicians, Frank Meyer and his partner, vocalist Elaina Anitelli, combine images with unusual instruments to pull in audiences.
“We take a lot of sharp turns in our shows,” Meyer said. “We’re fun, entertaining. We’re good at making people laugh.”
The creative, unpredictable pair places their music in the speakeasy era, a time occurring during Prohibition. “The foundation of our sound is in the 1920s and ’30s – Cab Calloway, Robert Johnson, Fats Waller. We do songs by those artists, plus a lot of originals.”
“Vaudeville happened before there were microphones,” Meyer said. “Elaina uses a megaphone, as a percussion instrument and as an amplifier. She walks around the crowd with it during the concert.
“We’re more than a two-dimensional show. I play on an old Samsonite suitcase as a bass drum, plus an old tambourine, guitar and ukulele. There is a lot of variety and texture.”
Paper Moon Shiners released a new album, “Illusions of Composure,” in May 2018.
“It’s kind of like our performances, in that there’s a lot of different styles on it. Our stage events are full of fun, up-tempo light songs, slow tongue-in-cheek stuff. That’s one of our strengths, making things entertaining,” Meyer said.