The Shins Charm Nashville’s Ryman with Trippy Pop Music

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The Shins Nashville
Seth Howard

The Shins returned to Nashville on Wednesday night to play the historic Ryman Auditorium. They charmed the Music City crowd from start to finish.

Music lovers packed Ryman Auditorium last night, anxiously awaiting the band’s return to Nashville. When the lights dimmed, their trippy background was visible. It paralleled their Heartworms album cover with a gaunt skull as the centerpiece. James Mercer, the band’s only original Shin and lead singer, led the way as they started their first song. “Caring is Creepy” began and the audience responded enthusiastically.

“What a beautiful place and a beautiful town,” Mercer said on stage before adding that it was a pleasure to be back in Music City. The lead singer also jokingly said he was recovering from “kennel cough” but a local doctor gave him a “shot in the ass.” The shot worked and Mercer’s voice was recovering nicely. It also appeared to give him some extra energy for the historic venue.

The Ryman audience clapped and sang along to the pop tunes. The Shins played an eclectic mix of songs old and new, including their newest single. Before playing it, Mercer said, “We hope you like it.”

The crowd’s excitement in response to the music continued through songs like “Phantom Limb” and eventually, “Simple Song.” As the last chords of the latter were played, the audience gave The Shins a well-deserved standing ovation.

They returned to the stage for an encore after saying, “We’re honored to even be playing here at all.” The encore included, “New Slang,” one of their most popular songs. The track was featured prominently in Zach Braff’s film, Garden State. In the movie, Natalie Portman’s character hands Braff’s character headphones while in a waiting room. She tells him, “You gotta hear this one song. It’ll change your life, I swear.” Mercer’s vocals are then heard through the headphones in the catchy song that made a lot of indie movie fans fall in love with The Shins.

It’s safe to say that Nashville fans of The Shins will eagerly await the next time the pop band will play in Music City.

For other tour dates, check out their official website.