The Shins @ Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ

Live Reviews | May 18th, 2009

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Date: May 17th 2009
Opening Band: Delta Spirit
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It’s been over 2 years since I saw the Shins play Terminal 5, this time I wanted to check them out at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ. The Shins play tonight at Terminal 5 in NYC, and also play their again on Thursday. If you’re expecting an energetic set from the Shins, you’ll be disappointed.

I’ve never been to the Wellmont Theatre before but I really liked the venue. It doesn’t take as long to get there as it does for NYC shows. Plus the theatre is really nice inside and I like the setup. It kind of reminds of Brixton Academy in London. Another added bonus I found was not having to pay for parking, since I parked in one of the shopping center’s lot. Not sure how safe it is to park there though.

The first band was called Delta Spirit and I never heard of them. It took a few songs to get into their music, but by the end of the set I was nodding along to the music. The band is a mix of indie rock, Americana and soul. I particularly liked when 2 or 3 members of the band were all drumming at the same time. I’ve noticed this has been a reoccurring theme or thing among indie rock bands during live shows. Franz Ferdinand did that, White Rabbits have done it. Every band seems to be doing that nowadays. It’s still exciting to watch and it sounds great too. I also liked how the band was using a trash lid and other things to create their music. How very Tom Waits-ish. I’ll definitely look into getting their albums, because I’m curious to see how they sound on CD.

The Shins were finally up next. They took longer than I wanted them to get on stage. It was a work/school night after all; work night for me, school night for majority of the audience. The band came on, featuring 2 new members. Keyboard/bass player Marty Crandall and drummer Jesse Sandoval were replaced by bassist Ron Lewis from Grand Archives, and drummer Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. The new sound is more noticeable at live shows as the band plays a little bit livelier during the faster songs.
They opened up with “Know Your Onion,” and the crowd loved hearing that. But they loved it even more when the band went into “Pam Berry” and “Phantom Limb.” After those songs, the Shins went back and forth with fast song/slow song. The set featured a lot of the tracks from their first two albums.

The band was a lot more energetic this time around than the last time I saw them perform. But when it came to slow songs, I was bored! The most boring song of the set had to be “Sea Legs,” which felt like a 20 minute prog rock song. They managed to do this for a few songs, and the songs went on for too long. My tired old legs couldn’t take it anymore. I just hate when any band stretch their songs out longer than they should be. I hate jam sessions, and I hate solos (for the most part) as well. The Shins could have played another 3 or 4 songs if they didn’t do this. Out of all the songs they played, I felt “Australia” was the best song of the night. They played a new song or two, and I preferred the first one they played. The song title escapes me right now. Other notable songs of the evening were: “Girl Inform Me,” “Caring Is Creepy,” “Gone for Good” (“A Call to Apathy”),” and “Girl on the Wing.” (edit: They didn’t play So Says I Like I originally thought. Oh well)The band came back out for an encore that featured “New Slang,” a Beach Boy cover (“Girl Don’t Tell Me”), and 1 or 2 other songs that I can’t seem to remember (I was tired, gimme a break). The setlist was a little weird for me and wishes they picked better songs from Wincing The Night Away.

Overall, I loved when the band played the upbeat songs. But when it came to slow songs, I think I’ll prefer listening to those on CD. If it wasn’t for guitarist Dave Hernandez jumping around and moving about on stage; you might as well have a cardboard cutout of the band. No one would notice the difference. Time to move around guys, get into your songs a little bit more. While I don’t regret going to this show, I think next time I’ll stay home and just put on their albums.


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