Saturday, 31 March 2012

Review: The Shins

So c* and I got lucky: we were invited to see the Shins play at Huxleys. I had never been to a concert there before and since I'm not really keen on large concert venues I was a bit worried. At least it turned out better than I had expected.

I always thought of the Shins as a good band, especially as one of the few "indie rock" bands worth listening to. Nonetheless I kind of lost track of them over the last few years for no particular reason. What I liked about them was that they wrote good songs. Their records were full of detailed melodies and fluffy vocals. They never had those typical and lame indie rock 'verse-chorus-verse' sing-a-long songs. They wrote songs that were much more complicated but nevertheless always catchy at the same time.

And that's where my problem with this concert was. We are talking about a quite large sold-out venue and I have to admit that despite being sold-out, Huxleys was surprisingly comfortable. But the sound was kind of typically large venue bad. It was relatively muddy and I think my biggest problem was that it was more the sound of a rock band, than a sound that I would have found suitable for the Shins. I mean a ROCK band sound with big punchy drums and with pumping bass. I also think I would not have missed the additional keyboards and percussions if it hadn't been there. The sound wasn't very differentiated and it kind of drowned all the fluffy detailed melodies that make the Shins special to me.

But anyway, what was left was a good band (I have to point out the amazing guitar player, I think she saved a huge amount of the songs with the way she played) playing a huge amount of "old" hits I could still relate to and which I still liked. They performed a very unpretentious and solid set, accompanied by quite nice lighting and visuals. Time passed quickly and after an encore of three final songs they left stage, having played almost an hour and a half.

We hung out for a while afterwards, finding out all about the album cover, which we had been intrigued about, and just spending some quality time. It was mighty late when we ventured home. The concert hadn't fully lived up to our expectations but the Shins are a nice band and it we got a pleasant enough evening out of it.


  1. interesting review of the same gig by our friends at Blitzgigs:

  2. I like to think of this record as a fine whiskey after cask-oak aging. Whiskey in its infancy is more wild and more accepted among the younger generation because of its accessibility and uncommon tradition from that of their parents. Enter: the shins. In their younger albums, there was a rebellious edge to the music that most fans have clung to. When trying to make the switch from the weaker fermented alcohol to the fine, rich gentleman's drink it is a difficult transition. That being said, as a purveyor of fine whiskey, I like to think of this new record as a delicious brew that is deserving of stones instead of ice. It's time to refine ourselves, friends, and indulge in the good stuff (aka. Port of Morrow).