La Bodega

Tales and pictures from our little corner of the world.


The Shins & Viva Voce - 2/8/07 - First Ave.

Wow has it been a long time since I have been to a show. Anyway, time to ring in the 2007 concert calender with a exciting double bill. I was initially not planning on going to this show. Why you ask? Maybe I have become spoiled with cheap shows so much to the point to where $25 all of a sudden sounds like a huge commitment. I like the Shins enough, I just do not expect them to be anything spectacular in a live setting. So it wasn't until Viva Voce, one of my new-found favorites, were added to the bill as the openers. Two good bands for $25? Sure, I'll "splurge" a little. So forgive me if I talk a bit more about Viva Voce.

Dare I say... Viva Voce were the more enjoyable act of the evening. I am sure that the Garden State loving crowd would disagree with me, but VV seemed to have more energy. The husband and wife duo played a fantastic set consisting mainly of songs from their latest release Get Yr Blood Sucked Out. Anita experimented on her guitar, exploring stoner rock/jammy tendencies, while also giving her whammy bar a workover, all the while Kevin kept the rhythm on drums. While I hoped for the space rocker "Helicopter," the band played opened with the more jammy "So Many Miles," showing off Anita's guitar prowess right away.

The other favorite of the set was the closer, the aptly titled "We Do Not Fuck Around," which they most certainly did not. As with the opener, the song was extended to a jam band like length so Anita could shred a little longer. While the crowd seemed too anxious for The Shins to come on stage than to nod their heads along to VV's songs, I thoroughly enjoyed the set and look forward to their return.

After a fairly long set change, The Shins entered to a repetitive synth loop, cluing you in to what they were opening with - "Sleeping Lessons" - the opening track on their brand new album. It was a perfect opener, as it is one of the Shins more rocking songs, and it did not let down live. The remainder of the set consisted of a good mix of songs from the aforementioned Wincing the Night Away and Chutes Too Narrow, while also mixing in the two best songs from their debut release Oh! Inverted World ("New Slang" being the expected favorite of the evening for a majority of the crowd). While a couple of songs were reworked a bit to sound better in a live setting, many of the songs did not deviate too much from studio versions, and thus lacked a lot of energy. The main exception to this was set closer "So Says I" while had the whole crowd throwing their hands in the air and jumping around.

All in all, The Shins performed as expected, if not slightly better. I am happy I made the decision to go. The video below is of Viva Voce performing a portion the opener "So Many Miles."