Thursday, June 03, 2004

THE BAMBOO REVIEW: Ms Becky Bamboo reports on The Shins and Verizon's patchy coverage in California:
Okay, so I don't even remember the name of the first opening act. I do remember it started with an "A" though. And I remember they were pretty bad. They had a vaguely jazz sound, no hooks to speak of, the drumming was so basic I could've filled in had the guy dropped dead before the show, and the sound was kinda muddy. They did not go over well, receiving polite applause at best.

After they stop boring me and start packing up, I anxiously check my voice mail to see if the phone call from my coworker has come telling me if she is able to get me backstage. Nothing! Argh.

The Fiery Furnaces get a better reception, swinging right into their short set of songs that shift every other minute or so and I quickly lose track of where movements of songs change into new ones. I do recognize the two I've heard on the radio and they both sound excellent. Their musicianship is undeniably great and they don't pause long enough to ever lose momentum, but neither do they let the audience get their bearings, seemingly on full throttle for 40 minutes and then abruptly coming to a dead stop. It's a little jarring and somewhat overwhelming. They get enthusiastic applause after they've finished but I'm not sure if I like them enough to get their CD or if I'm okay with just having the singles on various compilations.

As soon as the roadies start setting up for The Shins, I check my voice mail again. One new message! "Hi Becky, it's Anita. We're going to meet on the left side of the mezzanine between the opening act and The Fiery Furnaces to meet James [Mercer, her cousin and lead singer of The Shins] and get backstage passes. See you then!" A simple, eloquent expression of dismay and disappointment escapes from my mouth ("FUCK!!") as I listen to the message again just to make sure I'd heard correctly. I feel like suing Verizon for not delivering my voice mail in a timely manner. Bastards.

At least I get to see the show, which is awesome. The Shins come out and open with "Know Your Onion!" which rocks way more than the CD, a trend that will continue through the rest of the night. Their songs are so short that they're able to play nearly everything from their two albums plus a few b-sides/covers (not sure which) in the hour and a half they're on stage. One song they manage to stretch to three times its normal length with an extended intro and a "San Francisco ending" (jam band style) but it still doesn't crack the 10 minute mark. Hee. They repeatedly thank everyone for coming and tell us more than once they're a little intimidated by the size of the venue, the largest they've headlined. Being seated 3 rows from the back wall, I can report that if it wasn't sold out, it was definitely close to it because there are very few empty seats. Right before the last song, as Marty is again expressing thanks to the crowd, James pipes up with, "and I'd like to thank Anita for bringing a million people to see me" SON OF A BITCH! THAT SHOULD'VE BEEN ME TOO! Grrr... They close with a revved-up "So Says I" and leave to rapturous applause. I catch up with Anita as she's headed backstage and tell her I got the message to late. She gives me a hug and says, "maybe next time." Yeah. I really would've liked to have met them. I love their music, not to Wrensian or Rhett-like proportions, but enough to vow to keep working here at least until Anita finally gets me backstage...

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