don't you tell me how i feel.

Shin ups by Steele

I was overjoyed to see my beloved Shins in action last week at a great venue just over the Philadelphia city line. I don’t have a lot of complex thoughts to share about the show. It was predictably awesome and I loved every second! The setlist couldn’t have been better; they opened with the punk-rock “Caring is Creepy” from the first album, one of my all-time favorites, and, much to my relief, the band played basically the same number of songs from each album instead of playing the whole new record. I wouldn’t have complained if they had played most of the new album, but I was glad they didn’t. It’s been like 5 years since I heard Shins songs onstage and I wanted it all.

Overall, it seems like my favorite control freak James Mercer has loosened up a lot. I’d seen him twice before, performing with the Shins and with Danger Mouse as Broken Bells, and during both of those shows, he stopped a song a few seconds in and made everyone start again because of some imperceptible error. None of that this time around. The songs sounded hard-rocking, jangly and a little messy in the best way. His voice has never sounded more excellent. He did look a lot thinner than I remember, but hey, I guess you burn a lot of calories when you’re constantly worrying about everything being perfect. Have a free-range bacon cheeseburger or something, Jimbo!

Other highlights included a moving, pretty version of “New Slang,” which is basically their “Satisfaction” at this point and I’m guessing they play at every show, a handful of deep cuts from second album Chutes Too Narrow and a super-loud performance of the also-punk-rock “Sleeping Lessons.” They played new songs hard and fast, and they sounded great.

Also of note: his great roster of backing musicians, particularly guitarist Jessica Dobson, who kicked serious ass. Muzzy was quite impressed with her, and that’s saying something.

Opening band Real Estate was a nice surprise. Muzzy has been listening to them a lot lately and was thrilled to learn they were on the bill as well. I enjoyed their set quite a bit.

Here’s some decent video, courtesy of someone who was closer to the stage than I was.

*Note: Photos are from a Terminal 5 show in NYC, since apparently there was not one decent photographer at the show I attended. Credit


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