Earlier this year, The Shins released their fifth studio album, Heartworms, and first since 2012’s Port of Morrow. The James Mercer led band made a return trip to Atlanta on Friday, November 17th, after first unveiling Heartworms to Atlanta at the Shaky Knees Festival in May. This time though, The Shins came to a packed out Coca Cola Roxy as the headliner with a full set in store for fans of the beloved band. And they gave Atlanta everything they had and more!
While The Shins have certainly built a large fan base over their illustrious career, the band still gets widely associated with their rise to fame on the Garden State soundtrack with images of Zach Braff and Natalie Portman contemplating their existence ring through during “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang”. Those two ethereal songs are some of The Shins best, but they are no one trick pony. And they made that clear at the Roxy in Atlanta.
Even as beloved as The Shins are, if you have never seen the band live you probably wouldn’t be expecting the energy in their live shows to be so high. But let me tell you, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Shins were on high throughout their whole 17 song set, with the not only the band, but the audience’s energy bursting through the huge chandeliers hanging from the Roxy’s rafters. Quite frankly, this show exceeded even my wildest expectations. Songs like “Australia”, “Simple Song”, and “Name For You” were straight fire that had the audience bouncing throughout the evening. And when band closed the night with “Sleeping Lessons” off of their 2007 album Wincing The Night Away, that even included the band playing a tribute to Tom Petty with an “American Girl” cover in the middle of the song, well The Roxy basically lost it’s collective shit. Not only was the audience into this show, it was clear that The Shins themselves were having the time of their life on stage, a truly special evening for everyone involved.
Opening the show was none other than Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio, who released his second electro pop infused solo album (Man Of The Year) as Baio earlier this year. Chris was joined onstage by George Hume on electric guitar to creates some funky grooves that started the night off on a high note and had the crowd totally primed for what was to come with The Shins. Baio proved himself to be an avid frontman himself outside of playing bass with Vampire Weekend. Chris took to the stage in a full suit, with a quirky bowtie on as he brought his weirdo dance moves to the stage. It was an inviting set that immediately struck a chord with the audience, an infectious frontman that’s hard to resist. It’s Chris’ own quirkiness that let the audience know that this was an evening to let loose, have fun, and be who they really are. And that’s exactly what everyone did, which just carried over into The Shins set.
After the show wrapped up, I had the chance to say hello to Chris Baio and thank him for such a fun and unique set. Of course, I had to ask, “When can we expect to hear more Vampire Weekend?”, which drew an immediate devious smile on his face, and a response, “I’ll just say soon, very soon.” Well I’m ready, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Until then though, there’s no doubt I’m going to keep enjoying this solo side project in Baio, cause damn it sure was fun!
If you have any doubt about how much joy and emotion The Shins bring during their live set, I believe this picture says it all of this young lady who was given The Shins setlist as soon the band took their final bow. What a night it was!
WATCH a clip of The Shins closing out the show with “Sleeping Lessons –> American Girl –> SL”