Although this was my fourth time seeing The Shins, each time leading up to Tuesday night was an outdoor festival: Vegoose in 2007, Outside Lands in 2011, and the first weekend of this year’s Coachella. However, the more intimate – and housed – setting of the Mondavi Center for the Arts, was a welcomed invitation to the average listener like myself. Their sound was contained and engaging, not washed and loose. Without a doubt, the band won me over with their Tuesday night performance.
Rarely do I go to a show where I enjoy sitting down and simply watching and listening, but not this time. I relaxed and soaked in the syncopated guitars and harmonies. James Mercer’s voice is clearly the centerpiece of the group, but their use of harmonizations, and the way in which they fall on and off of each other’s every note, is remarkable. The gentle hums of “Caring is Creepy,” from their debut record Oh Inverted World, sent the crowd into a frenzy; while, the reminiscent, yet layered “Simple Song,” from their newest release, left everyone in awe. Being an all seated event, it was only until halfway through the performance that everyone was standing, singing, and dancing the rest of the night away.
The group will be out promoting their new record, Port of Morrow throughout the US for the first half of the summer. In mid-June, they’ll travel across seas to play selected dates and festivals throughout the UK. Port of Morrow was just released on March 20th, and is available everywhere.
-Written and photographed by Darryl Kirchner
Listen to The Shins’ “Simple Song” below.