Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LiveReview - The Shins @ Ed Sullian

It has been five years since we last heard from The Shins, in that five years much has changed in the world around them and the world within them. In 2008 the band had fulfilled their contractual obligations with Sub Pop and front man James Mercer started his own label, Aural Apothecary, in 2009, nearly everyone in the band had been replaced by Mercer and finally in 2012 on the day their latest record, Port of Morrow. The band showcased their new tunes, new line-up at the famous Ed Sullivan Theater for a special Live on Letterman webcast.

Opening their set with "Caring is Creeping," off their brilliant 2001 debut, Oh, Inverted World, The Shins had locked their audience attention straight away. Then it was into the fan favorite, "Australia," before kicking into their new single, "Simple Song," where it became a joyous occasion for viewers from the get-go. "This is off our new record, Port of Morrow, out today. I cannot believe it! Finally!, "said Mercer to the audience, as he said it, it seemed as if a giant weight had been lifted off his shoulders. In the time away from The Shins he formed Broken Bells with producer Danger Mouse and released their debut in 2010, but The Shins are still Mercer's baby and he, like fans, only wants the best. Playing a majority of songs off Port of Morrow, the band's fourth record, it was for many in the audience and at home watching online, the first time they had heard many of these songs. The new album sounds just as atmospheric and lush as the past records from the band, but very focused. Many of the new songs like "September," "Bait and Switch," "No Way Down" and the album's title track, "Port of Morrow," have jazz and folk influence and sonically show a progression in the band.

After an hour on stage, the band retreated to the wings and with the audience not satisfied until they got an encore, they returned to the stage for the epic, "Sleeping Lessons," which was the perfect way to close out the night. In a venue with perfect acoustics such as Ed Sullivan, hearing and seeing The Shins, like most bands there is a treat and privilege.