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Red Rocks

SHOW #23: The Shins with The Head and The Heart and Blind Pilot at Red Rocks 5/29/12

Red Rocks is quite simply one of my favorite places to see a show. It’s certainly my favorite large venue. I’d even argue that it might be the best medium to large music venue in the country. There is so much history at Red Rocks that every band who is playing there for the first time seems in awe to be on that stage. The sound is always perfect and you get to enjoy that sound while surrounded with incredible mountain views.

I tried to capture some of these views but the terribleness of my phone camera seems to shine through again as I don’t think any of the pictures come close to giving even a glimpse of the beauty and wonder of this place.

I was rolling deep for this show. There were nine of us in my group which is a pretty hefty crowd. Amongst these people were my friend Sarah, who you may remember from my Australian Hip-Hop post. Also in the crowd was my friend Mick, who is Australian. Interestingly (To me and like 2 other people who read this blog) Mick goes by Mumbles though for several glaringly obvious reasons he’s not to be confused with the famous (mild internet fame allows me to call someone famous right?) Mumbles mentioned and linked on this blog before. Why am I singly out these two people? Is it because they are exceptionally awesome? Incredibly interesting? Coincidentally nicknamed? No, while some or maybe all of that might be true I’m mostly mentioning them because they asked to be mentioned.

So, wait, I did see music at Red Rocks right? Because aren’t I supposed to be talking about that. Music and such, isn’t that what this whole thing is about? That is a valid point. Yes I did see music. Three musics in fact. Or is it musicers? I can’t remember the technical term right now.

Blind Pilot

I first learned about blind pilot about a year or so ago when a woman I went on one date with told me that I should listen to them. The date might have been bad but her taste in music was pretty good as I found Blind Pilot to be pretty good. Until now I hadn’t had a chance to see them live. They didn’t disappoint.

They have this nice airy folk vibe that really works for me. A beautiful mix of guitar, upright bass, and banjo that I find impossible to resist. They also have a talented drummer, pianist who also plays a horn and a full time xylophonist (I think it was a xylophone it was a huge xylophone which might not still be called a xylophone) which was interesting.

I liked everything I heard from them but the crowd was largely disengaged for their set with most people sitting and chatting. This can lead to a fair amount of distraction so my mind did wander a bit while Blind Pilot was on stage. I hated not giving them my full attention and I hope to be able to see them again in a smaller venue the next time they come through town.

The Head and The Heart

I’d seen The Head and The Heart one time before seeing them last night at Red Rocks and I’m not really sure what changed. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was something else but this performance elevated them from pretty good to can’t miss. I should go ahead and say here that I liked both of the openers more than I liked The Shins last night but as good a Blind Pilot was The Head and The Heart was better. They had so much passion and energy that it was just infectious. Just about the entire crowd had been willed to their feet by the end of their set.

Their music is pure, simple, honest, and powerful. They deliver it with conviction and they just win you over. Powerful vocals and rising uplifting melodies mix perfectly with solid drum beats to really drive the songs home. This is a band that is polished, well traveled, and exceptional at what they do. They were the highlight of this show and I can’t wait until I can see them again.

The Shins

The Shins appear to be a very popular band but they really aren’t why I was at this show. I bought my ticket more for The Head and The Heart and Blind Pilot than for them. I wasn’t all that familiar with them before the show began and I wasn’t in love with them when it was over. They weren’t exactly bad but they also weren’t that good.

They played fairly straight rock with some synthesizer layered in. They were a bit psychedelic at times, a bit jammy at others. Eclectic might be the right word to use here. They were having fun and some of their songs were pretty good but overall the show just didn’t impress me much.

There were some highlights. It was hilariously awesome when the messed up on the first song of the night and declared a do over to start the song again. They played a song that was describe by the lead singer as a psychedelic waltz that I thought was great. The audience singalongs were also pretty outstanding. Also, by and large, their slow stuff was pretty good.

When they sped things up though they lost me a bit. The fast songs just didn’t seem to have the same punch or feeling as the slow ones. The lead singer also had this strange habit of declaring nearly every song they played to be one of his favorites. Which was weird and a little off putting.

In the end I can’t declare The Shins bad, a lot of people there loved them and maybe if the openers weren’t so good they would have seemed better by comparison. I can say that they didn’t really do it for me and I won’t be going out of my way to see them again.


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