The Shins @ Festival Hall
The Shins live onstage is something to behold. Any thoughts I had of the band being introspective were blown away when the first notes of Caring Is Creepy were delivered by a band clearly in festival mode. With the added help of an extra guitarist the sound was huge, and although singer James Mercer is the head of the beast, the intricate pieces that make up The Shins signature sound had me going from member to member trying to figure out who was doing what. Kissing The Lipless was up next, and Simple Song followed close behind in an epic three punch opener.
A quick chat and the set was rolled out before us superbly, with the band tight and ready for Splendour. A fair chunk of new album Port Of Morrow was given the live treatment, some sounding note perfect (40 Mark Strasse), while others, such as No Way Down, were given a nice rhythmic twist that had me not realising the song until the first words.
On the topic of words, Mercer has really hit his stride with this new album, and the audience ate up both the musicianship and lyrics of these new songs. Unlike other bands lumped into the indie category whose songs can be quite same-ish, and performed by bands trying too hard to look like they’re not enjoying themselves, these songs were dynamic in the fact that they managed to go from subtle to gigantic over the course of four minutes. Not ones to forget the past, fan favourites such as Know Your Onion! and of course, New Slang were also fantastic, the latter on this occasion featuring an entire Festival Hall audience on backing vocals.
Personal favourite It’s Only Life was a highlight, and although time restrictions are usually enforced strictly at this venue, the band returned for a 25 minute encore that began with a beautiful solo rendition of September, in which the band joined James only for the closing minute. A 15-minute noise jam rendition of One By One All Day concluded the evening, and it being a Monday, the audience were out the door before the final cymbal crash had rung out.
BY CAM EWART
Photo credit: Mary Boukouvalas
LOVED: Guitarist Jessica Dobson. Cool as Kim Deal.
HATED: The fact I didn't go to Splendour to see them again.
DRANK: Fruit Cup Cordial. (Monday is liver recovery day.)