Concert Review: The Shins
May 28, 2012, 9:28 am
Although concert attendance at Bend's Les Schwab Ampitheater is usually in the 3,200 attendance-range, some 5,000 music fans crowded the field of the popular 5-acre site Friday night for a heady lineup that included "Blind Pilot," "Head and the Heart," and American indie rock heavyweights, "The Shins."
CONCERT IN PORTLAND ADDED
The Shins will be at Keller Auditorium on Wednesday, September 26th. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 1st at Ticketmaster
KINK presale on Thursday, May 31st from 10am - 5pm. Password: KINK WIN TICKETSLogin to the KINK Community
for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the concert. Contest ends 6/4/2012 at 8:00 a.m.Bend Concert Review
The Friday night show was The Shins' first stop on their current tour. Opening with "Kissing the Lipless" from their "Chutes Too Narrow" release, The Shins breezed through "Caring is Creepy" from their debut "Oh, Inverted World" CD, then wowed fans of all ages with an impressive performance of "Simple Song" - the current hit single from their new "Port of Morrow" release.
The Shins are currently comprised of Jessica Dobson, guitar, Yuuki Matthews, bass guitar, Richard Swift, keyboards, Joe Plummer drums, and James Mercer, lead vocals and guitar.
Although touring to promote "Port of Morrow," The Shins' setlist at Friday night's concert was generously sprinkled with tracks from earlier releases. A crisp, thundering presentation of "Mine's Not a High Horse" from "Chutes Too Narrow" was notable, as was their crowd-pleasing run-through of "Phantom Limb" from the 2008 Grammy-nominated "Wincing the Night Away." Other selections from "Wincing" included rambunctious shakedowns of "Sleeping Lessons" and "Australia" - both eliciting great feedback on the audience-o-meter.
Naturally The Shins also covered an oldie, their melancholy hit single "New Slang" from "Oh Inverted World," performing it with some tasteful piano touches, and naturally, audience appreciation and adoration ensued. Well-known but still worth mentioning music trivia: "New Slang" was one of 2 Shins songs that appeared in the 2004 film, "Garden State."
Lead singer, songwriter and frontman James Mercer appeared at-ease and happy on stage, cheerfully praising the surrounding riverfront view, admiring a flock of swallows circling over the night's events and thanking the masses, who braved chilly temps and threatening rain, for coming.
Selections from The Shins recently released "Port of Morrow" included "No Way Down" - a track Mercer and company performed with relish; the lively "Bait and Switch," a commanding delivery of "Rifles Spiral," and a leisurely stroll through their lush and consoling "It's Only Life," another evening standout.
Following some 90 minutes of music the band left the stage but the crowd stood firm, hooting and hollering them back for a short encore that included both the title track from "Port of Morrow" and the song "September," with Mercer on acoustic guitar, singing solo.
Wistful parting comment: there's a community curfew to consider at Les Schwab, but still and all, it would have been wonderful to have heard a few more cuts from "Port of Morrow." In spite of cold night air temperatures, there weren't too many folks leaving early, another testament to this band's unique creative mix and loyal following. View James Mercer videos from the Bing Lounge
Head and the Heart
Prior to The Shins taking the stage, Seattle's "Head and the Heart" delivered a solid setlist, joyfully greeting the crowd and playing cuts from their recently released self-titled CD. Highlights included "Rivers and Roads," "Honey Come Home," "Down in the Valley," "Lost in My Mind," and an enthusiastic delivery of "Ghosts," complete with Kenny Hensley's skillful, whimsical, just-plain-fantastic piano. The Head and the Heart in the Bing Lounge
...and Blind Pilot, too
As if all this weren't enough, American indie folk band "Blind Pilot" opened the show with an exceptionally pleasing, crowd-warming set of songs. Their second album, "We are the Tide," was released in September of last year and they played several cuts from it in their too-short setlist. Blind Pilot in the Bing Lounge
In addition to opening for The Shins in upcoming Utah and Colorado performances, Blind Pilot, from Portland, will be opening for Dave Matthews Band in Toronto. They opened for Counting Crows in a 2009 Europe tour. If you're not familiar with Blind Pilot or Head and the Heart, give them a listen - it's all great music well worth exploring.
In short: a very memorable night with well-rounded performances by all.
Les Schwab has more good news for music lovers this year - including upcoming shows by Nora Jones and Brandi Carlile - so check out who's coming next
. ~ Cynthia Orlando
Check more Cynthia Orlando reviews on Twitter @CynthiaOrlando.