The weather was so unseasonably cold, windy and rainy that I found myself hoping that the poolside concert, which I’d been looking forward to for months, would just go ahead and cancel already. But the worst of it subsided, and the Albuquerque, N.M., rockers played at 10:06 p.m., right on schedule. Sure the guitarist was wearing a fur-lined parka and the drummer had his hoodie pulled over his head, but the second I heard the first strains of opening song “Kissing the Lipless,” I transcended the cold.
The 90-minute set leaned heavily on old favorites, which gave the evening a friendly, we’re-all-in-this-together kind of feel, and a few Garden State flashbacks. The tunes from their new album, such as “Simple Song” and “The Rifle’s Spiral,” sounded great. But my favorite moment came with the nearly 10-year-old “So Says I,” which did what the Shins’ music does best: It popped open my heart like a chestnut and chewed up the mushy insides, ever so gently emulsifying my emotions.
For the first of a three-song encore, the Shins performed a satisfying rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe,” a cover they performed the last time I saw them: at Vegoose in 2007. Since then, the band’s lineup may have changed (everybody except frontman James Mercer) and our town’s music festival may have died, but a new venue, new album and new members provided that same old Shins experience, just the way I like it. ★★★☆☆