The indie pop outfit from Albuquerque, N.M., seems content to play live shows almost straight from its albums. Shut your eyes at any moment during the show at the Greek and you might not have noticed a difference between the live and recorded versions. In fact, the night’s highlight came during the encore when the band surprised – yes, surprised – everyone with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.”
Yet, the Shins find strength in predictability. It’s exactly the group’s ability to connect to completely familiar feelings that makes it so popular.
It’s no surprise that they became a huge hit as a result of 2004’s Garden State. Both the movie and the Shins’ music are unabashedly earnest, emotive displays of longing – longing for your friends, your lovers, your youth.
The group brought a mixture of its crowd-pleasing numbers and several new songs from its latest release, Wincing the Night Away. The band members were relaxed and charmingly modest, expressing some delight at playing the outdoor amphitheatre for the first time.
On melancholic songs like “New Slang” and “So Says I,” their infectious pop sound came across with perfect pitch. True to form, there was little to surprise the devoted Shins fan. Yet, despite his predictability, Shins frontman James Mercer can still send chills up the spine of an emo girl (or boy) with just a simple “oooh ooh oooh.” And that’s probably enough for most.