Concert Review: The Shins @ Cleveland Masonic Auditorium
Live Concert Review – The Shins – Cleveland Masonic Auditorium – Cleveland, OH – June 6, 2012
Cleveland, OH – The Shinsfirst burst onto the music scene with a little help from Natalie Portman and Zach Braff in 2004 by way of the indie-flick ‘Garden State,’ when Sam (Portman) declares to Andrew (Braff) that this band will “change your life.” Whether or not they will change your life is dependent on you, but, they will rock your socks off anytime, and be glad to do so.
Friday night (06.06.12) The Shins performed at Cleveland Masonic Auditorium to show off some tunes from their latest album, ‘Port of Morrow’ (03.20.12; Columbia Records). After working with side project man extraordinaire Danger Mouse as Broken Bells, James Mercer (the original Shin) scrapped his old band and reloaded with guitarist Jessica Dobson (who opened the show with her side project, Deep Sea Diver), bassist Yuuki Matthews, drummer Joe Plummer (not to be confused with “Joe the Plummer”) and keyboardist/percussionist Richard Swift.
The Shins’ indie-rock-pop is full of luscious harmonies over heavy rock chords and some spacey sounds that provide their often dreamy pop sound. Not to be limited to just one sound, however, Mercer and company can bring the rock just as hard, and that they did Friday evening to a full house of 2,000 folks. “Thanks for helping us sell out this place,” Mercer said to the crowd, some of the few words uttered by the frontman.
Tearing right into the set with one of those relatively heavier songs, “Kissing the Lipless” got the show off to a fantastic start. The band ripped through an 18 song set that spanned 90 minutes, without much banter between songs. It was all business for Mercer and company. The Shins covered most of their four albums evenly, but did place a slight emphasis on ‘Port of Morrow.’
“Simple Song,” “Bait and Switch,” and “The Rifle’s Spiral” picked up where the Shins left off after 2007’s ‘Wincing the Night Away.’ Sprinkled in between hits such as “Know Your Onion” and “Saint Simon,” the new songs blended nicely and provided a great example of why Mercer is still putting out quality records even at the (relatively) “old” age of 41.
The title track from ‘Port of Morrow’ was followed by “New Slang” (arguably their greatest hit, thanks again to Garden State). “Sleeping Lessons” finished up the set with a packed crowd on their feet hoping to see another tune or two. The Shins pretended the show was over and that they weren’t coming back… But, oh wait, there’s more! A slower, not so typical encore saw Mercer alone onstage to start, opening with “September.” The band slowly joined as the song called for more instrumentation. And last but not least, “One by One All Day” from their 2001 debut album, ‘Oh, Inverted World,’ brought the show to its conclusion.