The Shins + The Ruby Suns – 31/07/07 – The Civic, Christchurch

Like most people I know who like The Shins, I had not heard of them until I saw the

The Shins Jul 2007
Some Shins

film ‘Garden State’. I downloaded a couple of tracks on the strength of that (‘New Slang’ being one) and was instantly hooked. With ‘Wincing The Night Away’, they reached new heights of sublime excellence, and I did a proper double take when I saw a TV ad for a New Zealand tour, and a triple or possibly quadruple take when I saw Christchurch on the list. If you live as far away as Dunedin, Christchurch is really an overnight stay for anyone but the most dedicated driver, so the missus and I got a hotel right in the centre of town and decided to make a mini-break of it. The venue, a pretty small town hall type affair, was probably only a 5 to 600 capacity, and not even full, so we guessed that they must really like playing down here, as they would certainly have been losing money on such a small show. The Ruby Suns had been touted as the next big NZ indie band, but god, were they ever dull, so we stayed in the bar (rah!). The missus was 3 months preggers at the time, so it wasn’t exactly the wildest night we’ve had…

The Shins James Mercer Jul 2007
Head Shin, James Mercer

The Shins came on (at last) and to kick off, James Mercer played ‘A Comet Appears’ solo, sat on a stool like Ralph McTell. He forgot the words part way through and had to stop for a giggling fit, and I was slightly worried that perhaps they were a bunch of amateurs, and not up to my pompously high standards. Nothing doing though, it was just a glitch, and they went on to bash out 90 minutes of extremely slick, polished and tight indie rock including everything I thought they should have played (with the exception, oddly, of ‘Young Pilgrims’,sniff), and a couple of real surprises – Pink Floyd’s ‘Breathe’ and ‘We Will Become Silhouettes’ by Depeche Mode. And bloody good they were too. There are 5 or 6 Shins on stage most of the time, with two guitarists and a guy playing pedal/steel as well as keyboards, but the sound is anything but cluttered. They do a bit too much ‘ooh, shall we swap instruments for a bit?’ for my liking, but I’m being churlish here, they were very very entertaining.

They took my ticket off me and wouldn't give it back :-(

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