Concert Review: The Shins @ Prospect Park Bandshell - Brooklyn, NY (6/15)

It had really never occurred to me until the beginning of my freshman year just how incredibly unique The Shins’ sound is. Frontman James Mercer’s voice has not deteriorated even slightly since we first heard him on their once highly anticipated, still widely recognized debut album, ‘Oh, Inverted World,’ back in 2001. While Mercer has since parted ways with the entire original lineup, which resulted in a hiatus lasting nearly five years, The Shins have always successfully integrated a plethora of musical styles since Mercer formed the band about twenty years ago. This past Thursday, the band certainly did not disappoint at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, as their set included their biggest hits, as well as songs from their most recent album, ‘Heartworms,’ which was released this past March.

The Shins kicked off their 18-song set with “Caring Is Creepy,” the opener off of their debut album. They followed up with “Australia” and “Name For You,” the second single off of ‘Heartworms.’ A little later in the show, they played “Saint Simon” and “Kissing the Lipless,” two tracks from, in my opinion, their best album, ‘Chutes Too Narrow.’ Mercer and company then returned to new material with the melodic and somewhat psychedelic “So Now What” and the catchy “Painting a Hole.” They closed their set with crowd-pleaser “Phantom Limb” and arguably the most epic track in their catalog, “Simple Song,” before returning for an encore.

The Shins start the encore with “The Fear,” ‘Heartworms’’ closer, which features an elegant, yet compelling string section, and they performed it flawlessly. They follow up with their most popular song to date, “New Slang,” as the audience watches in silence, taking it all in. They end their performance with the ironically-titled “Sleeping Lessons,” as it is the most upbeat and energetic track in their set.

I had been looking forward to seeing The Shins live since hearing the news that they would be releasing their first album in five years. They are certainly not the most flamboyant group of musicians I have ever seen, but it is easy to tell that they enjoy performing live. All in all, I would definitely see them again.