The Shins Return

May 1st, 2012

The Shins – Terminal 5 – April 30, 2012

A funny thing happened when the Shins released their latest album, Port of Morrow. Five years had passed since the group’s previous one, Wincing the Night Away, just enough time that their legion of fans was almost ready to think about the Shins in past tense. But a new disc was all that was needed to remind them of the band’s brilliance, and their live show echoes this experience.

Playing their second of three sold-out shows at Terminal 5 last night, it was as though once every song was recognized, it was greeted with “Oh, yeah, I love this song!” roars of approval from the crowd. Given that James Mercer had entirely overhauled the band since his last album, many of the older songs have evolved from their recorded versions. Older ones seem to have incorporated the punchiness heard on new songs like “The Rifle’s Spiral” and “Bait and Switch.” “So Says I” sounded faster than its studio take, being driven by a much more forceful tempo.

Special guests Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle of Dirty Projectors joined the band for a few songs, providing garnishing harmonies on “Australia” and a handful of other songs. Shins guitarist Jessica Dobson added some beautiful high harmonies to “New Slang” that fit flawlessly into the already near perfect song. Mercer returned for the encore to play a solo acoustic version of “Young Pilgrims.” The audience was so hushed listening to him that when some guy yelled, “Why are you so good?” the entire venue heard it and erupted in laughter. It was a valid question. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo |