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We Saw This: The Shins

Lots of observant frowning happened.
Κείμενο Stephanie Maida

I feel kinda bad for The Shins. Ever since being glorified in that (crappy) Zach Braff movie, people like me probably still expect a life-changing experience whenever we listen to them, especially live. So while I can’t quite say that I was completely disappointed after their Terminal 5 show the other night, the non-experience of any significant existential realization was a bit of a letdown.

The expected crowd of lumberjacks and librarians seemed to take the notion “Caring is Creepy,” to heart, as their reactions usually ranged from observant frowning to lazy head-nodding. Considering all the black marker X-ed hands I saw, there is also a strong possibility that nobody was old enough to get wildly drunk. Besides the way-too-young-to-be-kissing-like-that couple standing in front of me who started grinding—GRINDING—during “Phantom Limb,” most of the show-goers stood around in a chilled daze, maybe getting secondhand high off the scent of weed wafting over us.


Although seraphic synths and airy warbling aren’t really meant to be danced to, electric riffs and the sporadic use of cowbell did manage to get some people jumping during songs like “Australia” and new track “No Way Down” off The Shins’ 2012 album Port of Morrow. James “Sexface” Mercer (as I like to call him) was assisted in his emotive crooning by Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle of the Dirty Projectors, who made little cameos as siren-y, white girl versions of doo-wop backup singers.

When the show culminated in swirly psychedelic instrumentals and seizure-inducing light effects, the floor crowd was even treated to a confetti of dirty cocktail napkins (thanks, balcony assholes). Magical, maybe, but I don’t consider getting someone else’s snot in my hair significantly life-changing.

Bonus points for: Grinding

Points subtracted for: Balcony assholes

Previously: We Saw This: Cold Cave