The Shins

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Average User Rating 5.97
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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The Shins Suck Live
Venue/Date: Terra Blues (New York, NY)
Concert Date:  
October 23rd, 2007
Reviewer: aceshooter

      Venue Parking  
      Venue Security  
      Opening Band  
      Opening Song  
      Set List  
      Band Connection  
      Band Energy/Intensity/Showmanship  
      ConcertGoer Energy/Intensity  
      Sound Quality  
      The Finish/Encore  

Songs With a Sneaky Streak

The Shins performing at Terminal 5.
Published: October 25, 2007

From a distance the scene on Tuesday night probably looked pretty normal: a popular indie-rock band onstage at Terminal 5, the cavernous new club (in a previous incarnation it was Club Exit); cheering fans crowding the three levels, craning to see.

But at this Shins concert there was nothing, really, to see: just a bunch of guys concentrating on their instruments, barely moving. Banter was in mercifully short supply (Shins shows were once infamous for having way too much), there were no exhortations to sing along, there was hardly anything you could dance to. So why did everyone look so happy?

It must have been the songs. Over the course of three albums James Mercer, the head Shin, has established himself as one of indie rock’s best songwriters, delivering wry lyrics that are inevitably outshone by his melodies, which are gently infectious and immediately recognizable. He likes minor keys and mellow digressions; instead of churning round and round (here comes that chorus again!), his songs often seem to be drifting away.

“New Slang” was the band’s breakthrough hit; it’s the one that was supposed to change Zach Braff’s life in the film “Garden State.” But the chorus is de-emphasized (the title comes from the second verse), and the best-known part is probably the wordless melody at the beginning and end. Maybe that’s why no one seems to be sick of it years later; it’s hard to get sick of a sigh.
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