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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Friday, March 23, 2007

[Live MP3s] The Shins in Boston 2007

I owe my appreciation for the Shins to two factors: The discriminating tastes of Micki Krimmel, and a perfect afternoon at River Gods. Shortly after 2003's "Chutes Too Narrow" came out, Micki soundly chastised me over IM for not liking it very much. Knowing my tastes, she was pretty surprised I hadn't felt it, and I think my dismissive response to her was "Chutes Too Sixties". But I made a mental note to give the disc another chance.

A few months later, in the early spring of 2004, I needed some solo time and a couple of pints, so I swung by Cambridge's River Gods with a good book, and settled into the front window seat. As I did, the hand claps, woo!, and strummed guitar of "Kissing The Lipless" started almost on queue, and I spent the next 35 minutes falling completely in love with every song that followed. Something clicked that afternoon... maybe it was the long-awaited end of winter, maybe it was the couple pints, but I was a full-on Shins fan. And Micki could say "I told you so."

I held onto them through the Braff-fueled explosion and inevitable hipster-than-though backlash, and believe that "Wincing the Night Away" is a solid, though not nearly as strong, follow-up to "Chutes Too Narrow" (mostly marred by the unfortunate experiment that is "Sea Legs"). I liked it well enough to finally see the band live, and bought a couple tickets to see them two weeks ago at the Orpheum here in Boston.

To be honest, my expectations for their live show weren't all that high. The size of the venue, the widening of the fanbase, and my not-quite-as-obsessed opinion of the latest album had been added to the general blog-fed consensus that weren't the most energetic of performers. But those low hopes were pretty much crushed, the band brought far more energy to the stage than anticipated (especially guitarist/bassist Dave Hernandez), and I found myself connecting with both the old songs and the newer. James Mercer's voice, from the moment he sings "Spill it out in the ragged floor" in set-starter "Sleeping Lessons", was so right on, so clear and strong, that I gained an even deeper respect for it. No studio trickery, no double-tracking or multiple takes needed.

Actually, the clarity of his vocals made the rest of the instruments suffer in comparison... it was likely the fault of the mix in the large room, and as you might hear in the recordings, things are a bit muffled at times. Still, worth a listen, especially for the rousing encore cover of "Someone I Care About" (with assistance from opener Viva Voce), originally written by Boston's own Jonathan Richman-fronted Modern Lovers. Here's the full set...

Some Shins-centric links...
  • Their website, MySpace page, his Wikipedia entry, and Sub Pop label page.

  • Bonus Mp3s: The Shins - "Turn On Me" (live on Conan O'Brien), The Shins - "Australia" (live on KEXP), The Modern Lovers - "Someone I Care About" (from the 1976 self-titled album).

  • Sub Pop Mp3s: "Phantom Limb", "Know Your Onion!", "So Says I", "Kissing The Lipless".

  • Video: The clips for "Phantom Limb" (.mov), "New Slang" (youtube), "Saint Simon" (youtube), "Pink Bullets" (youtube), and a link to a full Shins YouTube search, where you can find a wealth live clips.

  • DCist wrote up the Shins' recent appearance at the DAR Constitution Hall.

  • As ever, you can listen to all 'Nac-hosted tracks on the Hype Machine.
  • As an aside, I learned something valuable from this show: Make sure you pay very close attention to the small "obstructed view" warning if they appear on your Orpheum tickets. Because when they say "obstructed", they are not f&%king around. Joining me was in-town visitor Ned (as in No Love For), and it's a good thing we both had a sense of humor (and a couple of beers) that night. Our seats were, quite literally, about 2 feet from a monster stack of speakers that extended up and sideways a full story each. Not only could we not see any of the stage, but the speakers gave us nothing but the low-end of the pre-show mix. We joked that the view from the bathroom would be just as good, but the sound in there would probably be even better. But luck was on our side: not only did our dependable Boston-area ticket-scalping machine overestimate the demand for the show (sold out, but literally dozens of craigslist posts offering up discounted tickets that day, and you couldn't swing your fist without smacking a scalper out front), but a friend was working the crowd that night, and he hooked us up with some unsold seats. His kindness made it much easier to laugh at the venue's strict definition of 'obstructed'. Next time, I'm paying more attention to the fine print.

    speaking of which, the fine print... If anyone has any issues whatsoever with this live set being made available, just say the word (contact info in the 'nac faq). I am but a fan trying to share and spread the word. Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Tracks are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.


    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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