The Shins – The Wellmont Theatre – May 17, 2009May 18th, 2009
The show built to a 90-minute crescendo where a longer, glorious mood piece segued into a raging, rocking hit. The cloth took on all colors at once, flickering between shades and the crowd went nuts.
One of the cooler things about the Shins’ show at The Wellmont Sunday night was the backdrop behind the band: strips of white cloth hung from the ceiling to the floor in front of a black curtain, giving a kind of piano-key look to it. There were lights on each strip so that they actually changed colors during the show. It was nothing fancy, but the way each band of cloth absorbed the color, it struck me that they were each every color and no color at all, utterly simple and yet infinite in their possibilities.
The same could be said of the Shins. Were they a plain piece of cloth hung from the rafters or were they a multihued bit of magic? Were they the bright-white quintet that made the packed, SRO crowd scream Beatles-on-Ed Sullivan style when they took the stage or were they the dark-gray group that rocked hard while the audience, on average, stood motionless. Were the vocals—heady two-, three- and four-part harmonies—important enough to mix clear and crisp yellow like they were later in the show or were they incidental to the orange fuzzy garage bass and drums behind them, muddy and incoherent like they were for the first half hour? Were they a band that played quick, blue ditties or the expansive, deep-green Floyd-esque movements? Was the guitar playing that bright, red, clean pop or the drippy, violet psychedelic mixture?
Of course, the answer is all and none. The show built to a 90-minute crescendo where a longer, glorious mood piece segued into a raging, rocking hit. The cloth took on all colors at once, flickering between shades and the crowd went nuts. —A. Stein