Live Review

Reading 2012: The Shins, Main Stage

You don’t get that with Enter Shikari.

In a quite bizarre piece of stage management the Shins find themselves in the unenviable position of being sandwiched between Odd Future and Enter Shikari on the main stage at Reading. And you just can’t help but wonder how their wistful indie rock will go down with a crowd who have just been instructed by Tyler and co. to ‘Kill People, Burn Shit, Fuck School’.

Thankfully they play to a fairly respectful, if small, crowd, although there is something slightly incongruous about the 41 year old James Mercer singing songs about parenthood to a audience the majority of which one would hope won’t be experiencing that emotion for a few good years yet.

With James accompanied by a band of seasoned indie professionals, including Beck’s guitarist Jessica Dobson, who provides sweet harmonies throughout, it is the classic rock stylings of ‘Simple Song’ which provides the first mass singalong. Featuring a keyboard intro borrowed from The Who and a succession of chiming powerchords, it’s a track that could have graced this stage at any point in the festival’s long history.

The set is drawn mainly from recent album ‘Port of Morrow’ and with the sun making a welcome appearance over the festival site, it is all quite lovely and inoffensive, but inevitably the biggest cheer is reserved for ‘New Slang’. Despite now being forever tainted by it association with Zach Braff, it is still pretty special live, the melody rising high above the field, carried by the voices of several thousand teary eyed punters. You don’t get that with Enter Shikari.

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