It’s a sad indictment of the times that directly after a Shins concert, the top Twitter discussion topic is still about Justin Bieber. (He told fans to kick the paparazzi in the shins, you guys.) Actual band-related commentary included a lamentation of people passing gas on the dancefloor, but our absolute favourite tweet of the night was the one below.
Also a sad indictment of the times: that we began this review with a recap of Twitter instead of the concert.
The gig itself was great. James Mercer’s voice was as spot on as you’d expect from someone who’s been singing many of the songs for almost a decade now. Though performing with an all-new band, he didn’t mix it up too much and wisely buffered the newbies (which are good, but don’t possess the same sentimental attachment – not yet, anyway) with old favourites. During a set that drew largely from Chutes Too Narrow, we even saw a few people dancing, and the guy in front of us performing the most restrained air-drumming in the history of rocking out. Mercer seemed pleased, commenting on the decent level of audience participation, but The Hordern’s cautionary sign about moshing still seemed comical amid such a mild-mannered crowd. Still, this is The Shins. No one comes for the crowd-surfing. The band lost the audience a little during a 10-minute instrumental which Mercer used as an opportunity to introduce the band, but that was the only slightly self-indulgent moment. The rest was a mix of the joyful and melancholic pop for which they are loved. Splendour kids, you’re in for a treat.
We interviewed Mercer about the worst jobs he’s ever had in issue 57, on sale now.