Summer concert season is in full swing and this past Tuesday The Shins came to their first stop on the US tour to Niagara Falls, NY for a sold out show at the Rapids Theater. This is the first time that the band has played in Niagara Falls and the crowd was certainly appreciative.  Mertel opened the show and it is worth a mention that The Shines lead singer James Mercer personally discovered the opening band after seeing them cover a Shins song in a YouTube video.

The Shins kicked it into gear from the start with “Caring is Creepy” under the glow of a black light lit stage that changed throughout the show, eventually revealing a glowing psychedelic backdrop. The band’s hypnotic and slightly eerie melodies carried throughout the night.

Mercer put on a pleasing performance as he fed off the energy of the eager fans and the 5 other band members. He jokingly began playing the Corey Hart hit “I Wear my Sunglasses at Night” which had the crowd roaring. It was great to see Mercer nod and smile at audience members who obviously had been long-time Shins fans. The warm temperature of the room didn’t hold back the sweaty jam packed crowd as they swayed, danced and sang along to songs old and new.

The six-piece lineup featured Jon Scortland (also from indie rock band Broken Bells) on drums, Mark Watrous and Casey Foubert on guitar, Yuuki Matthews on bass, and Patti King on keys, tambourine and violin. The new faces of the Shins provided a nice complement to Mercer’s vocals and direction.

The Shins played plenty of songs from their new album “Heartworms” and also classics like “Girl Inform Me,” and their hit “New Slang” from the 2004 motion picture soundtrack, “Garden State.”  In the film “Garden State,” Natalie Portman proclaims “this song will change your life.” Little did she know she was saying it to the band as well as Zach Braff (the actor opposite her in the movie). The song is a fan favorite to date.

The song selections for the encore had a great range. They began with the super folksy cut from “Heartworms” in “The Fear.” It was a great way to return to the stage as it featured a new trio of violinists that drew in the crowd. Mercer complimented his bandmates by stating how amazing his band was. “New Slang” produced a predictable roar for the classic hit.

An extended version of “Sleeping Lessons” closed the stage perfectly.  The powerful, high energy buzz may still be emanating under the roof of The Rapids Theatre.

Set List:

Caring is Creepy


Name for You

High Horse

Girl Inform Me

Gone for Good


St Simon

Kissing the Lipless

So now what

Painting a Hole

Rifle’s Spiral

Half a Million

Phantom Limb

Simple Song


The Fear

New Slang

Sleeping Lessons


Photo Gallery



We would like to thank Marc Violino from The Rapids Theatre for the credentials to review the show.'

About The Author Heather Bellini