The Shins – in concert at Birmingham Academy – 2004 – BBC
The Shins in concert tonight. Recorded at the Birmingham Academy in 2004 by BBC Radio 1. This is a three song excerpt, not the whole concert – but enough to give you a taste of the band during this relatively early period.
The Shins were formed by James Mercer (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, songwriter) as a side project to Flake Music, who were active from 1992 to 1999. Flake Music released two 7″ singles and a full-length album When You Land Here It’s Time to Return on Omnibus Records and were touring with Modest Mouse when they were signed to Sub Pop Records. The band’s first two records, Oh, Inverted World (2001) and Chutes Too Narrow (2003) performed well commercially and received critical acclaim. The single “New Slang” brought the band mainstream attention when it was featured in the 2004 film Garden State. Consequently, the band’s third album, Wincing the Night Away (2007), was a major success for the group, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 and earning a Grammy Award nomination.
Following this, the Shins signed to Columbia Records and Mercer parted ways with the entire original lineup, deeming it “an aesthetic decision.” Following a near five-year hiatus, Port of Morrow, the band’s fourth studio album, was released in 2012. Having worked on The Shins for nearly a decade, Mercer felt exhausted and ready to quit the band. “Mainly I was tired of being right in the middle and everything sort of revolving around me, including the friendship dynamics-slash-bandmate dynamics and the creative aspect,” Mercer explained in 2012. Noting that the band had never been bigger, some aspects of the limelight made him uncomfortable. Mercer was approached by Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) around this same period regarding a possible collaboration on a new project, which became Broken Bells. Enjoying the fresh approach with Broken Bells in regard to meeting new musicians, Mercer desired to continue that feeling. Mercer parted ways with longtime bandmates Dave Hernandez, Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval, terming it “an aesthetic decision”. Sandoval instead told The Portland Mercury he was “unequivocally fired” from the group by Mercer. Mercer would later relate that his decision was “tremendously difficult”, but instead wished to view it as a new phase.
In April 2021, a 20th anniversary reissue of Oh, Inverted World was announced for release on June 11, 2021. The reissue was remastered by Bob Ludwig, with Mercer serving as an assistant.
Here is the band as they were in 2004, playing at the Birmingham Academy.
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