By Jack Calamyne
Hell Yes! We went down to check out The Shins at The Fillmore inDetroit. It was a beautiful June evening, the Detroit Tigers were playing across the street atComericaPark, and D-Town was bumpin’.
After checking in at the Greektown Casino, fellow WMI contributor John Verburg and I walked over to meet some friends at The Rub, a pretty awesome barbecue joint just around the corner from the Fillmore. The beef brisket was delicious with some Carolina BBQ sauce. After dinner, we stopped next door at the Dirty Trick for shots and beers. The bartender said he’d seen The Shins several times out in California and thought they we’re awesome. That got us pretty pumped up. The Tigers, however, were loosing to Cleveland.
When we arrived at the venue, The Antlers were about two-thirds through their set. Now, I know that many people disagree with me on this; but, as a general rule, I don’t care for bands with animal names. I’m talking Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear, Antelope, Puma, and all that Animal Collective nonsense. I’m not saying it sucks; it’s just not my thing. So, I wasn’t that excited about The Antlers and they lived up to all my expectations.
If you’ve never seen a show at The Fillmore inDetroit, I highly recommend it. Originally opened in 1925 as a movie house, it’s a beautiful historic theater with a grand lobby adorned with the original chandeliers. The theater has an eighty foot high ceiling with craftsmanship and design features that remind you of how we used to build things right. Like many historic theaters, there are no seats on the main floor (except in VIP areas) and it smells like stale beer and the floors are sticky. But it’s rock-and-roll, so get over it. It’s a great venue and, unless you’re seeing Yanni, seats at concerts are silly.
The Shins hit the stage around 9:30. They started out with a rather lengthy acoustic set that, truthfully, I found quite boring. Like many Shins fans I think, I am huge fan of Chutes Too Narrow. I have Wincing the Night Away, but rarely listen to it; and I’m still digesting the new album, Points of Morrow. I don’t think I’ve ever heard their first album, Oh, Inverted World. So, it was probably me projecting; but it seemed that most people in the audience were just standing, swaying, and waiting for “Kissing the Lipless,” “So Says I,” or, “Phantom Limb” to cut loose briefly. Then, they resumed the sway. While night’s energy was definitely positive, it didn’t crescendo. It merely oscillated.
When they finally kicked it up a notch for the electric portion, the production quality was unimpressive. This was a relatively expensive ticket and I’ve seen WAY more interesting stage shows from more moderately priced headliners without The Shin’s notoriety. Don’t get me wrong. Front-man James Mercer and the band sounded great, but the show felt uninspired…and long. So long, in fact, we slipped out early and took a cab over to my favoriteDetroitwhiskey bar, The Bronx Bar, in Midtown; where things really deteriorated.
The Shins new album is Points of Morrow. Pick it up on itunes, some other electronic distribution system, or any record store that still exists.