The Shins - Bowery Ballroom, New York, September 3rd 2003
Some bands catch the indie buzz and exploit the fuck out of it.
Forging EP after EP, never really recapturing the "it" that brought them that same moderate success, those bands eventually become tired dinosaurs of the "remember those guys who sang that song" mold. You either end up dead or on MTV.
The Shins were that really cool band who opened for Modest Mouse about two years ago. Oh, Inverted World won them critical acclaim on the ever-increasing-to-the-point-of-absurdity online music review e-zines. Then it seems they just let it swell. They lied low. They claimed to be working on album that still hasn't been released. They almost fell in the one album wonder file.
But the Shins performed their first of two sold out shows at the Bowery Ballroom last night as calm and collected as their approach to the music business.
It fucking rocked.
Only having two albums to work with, citing that they played everything they had, the Shins delivered a never-dragging 90 minute set that really displayed how Oh, Inverted World, while remaining a damn-solid album, does them no justice as a live band. Always thought of as the lighter side of the Pacific northwest sound, they demonstrated how wrong we were and how intense their music, albeit pop, can truly be.
James Mercer's vocals never sounded this good and Neal Langford adding an extra guitar while Marty Crandall took a rest from his flimsy 80s Casio-like keyboard gave hint that the new album will be more rocky than airy. Either way, the Shins impressed on all fronts.
An added thank you to the band for not turning to the new wave of ironic cover tunes when bands think their setlist may not be long enough.