Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Shins

Well the new lease on life continues apace, the private life of Paul becomes more and more public and much more and more fun.

First an explanation on chronology, I went to two gigs this week. I'm going to do a blog on each, a kind of mini review of the night and the experience. The first on Tuesday was Mark Thomas. The second was Thursday night, that was the Shins. "But Paul," I hear the more observant of you cry, "the title of your blog is the Shins, surely you have made some mistake with your timeline. Why put the second night before the first, pray tell?" and since you ask I will tell. Both gigs were outstanding for very different reasons, but the Mark Thomas show was important and I want what I say about that to stick in your mind, so if you read these blogs together you'll read that last and it might stick.

But first the Shins. And before them the friends. I'd never heard of this band until recently when I was introduced to their music by my friend Hannah who's lovely. Thank you Hannah for the music (anyone who starts humming ABBA to themselves, shame on you!). Anyway when I got the annoying email a few months ago from ticketmaster I very nearly deleted it without thinking, then I noticed the Shins were playing. In Manchester. Yippee Skippy! I rang Hannah, she rang Steph and Laura (two of my new friends in manc I met thru Han) I bought four tickets.

So Thursday night we went it was great. I've got the tickets and I'm waiting for the girls in Kro bar, which is just across from the Manchester Academy where the gig is and I'm doing the standard first one there act. Nursing my pint, looking at my watch far to often, glancing at the door whenever it looks like it moved and generally trying not to look like a lonely alcoholic. Then Laura and Steph turn up and I got hugs. Yay me! and Hannah turns up and we have excited giggly catch up chat and we're sat outside so the smokers can smoke and it's November in the north of England so everyone's shivering and turning a lovely blue colour. Then it's time to go across the road and we shove our way to about half way up the hall and the band starts to play.

Now I'm a bit nervous at this point whenever I see a band for the first time because some of them are a bit hit and miss. Arctic Monkeys for instance, brilliant albums, could listen to them all day. Bit crap live. And I'm a fairly new Shins fan, I didn't want my new found love of the band to be shattered. I needn't have worried. They were outstanding. True artists. A joy to listen to. Another little sound-bite quote you get on album covers.

They didn't play my favourite song, Baby Boomerang, but I'll forgive them because they did drip with entertainment and the crowd lapped it up. They didn't do much in the way of banter with the crowd but when they did they all came across as nice chaps. They even talked about a busking competition they'd had on the streets of Manchester that day. The bass player won with a princely sum of £19. I would have loved to have seen that. Just outside Boots getting a sandwich for lunch and coming across a guitarist in an international band to say, I've got a ticket to see you play tonight. Priceless.

Any way it was a great night, good music, all right venue and absolutely brilliant company.

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