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By Erica Evans

After 15 years of being located in Downtown Disney, The House of Blues in Anaheim moved across the street to the GardenWalk and welcomed The Kills for their 15th anniversary show on Monday, March 20.

While the new House of Blues doesn’t have quite the same feeling as the old location, it still has the intimate sensation of being up close to a band you love listening to. Before the show started I was able to make my way into the Foundation Room to check out what the VIP lounge is about. It’s a pretty swanky spot, but not one I would mind spending time in had I had more time.

Back at the pit, you can see hamsas hanging around the walls and above the stage there’s a sign that says, “Who do you love.” Whether it was intentional or not, that sign had me singing George Thorogood before The Kills came on stage.

Once The Kills came out, they went right into “Heart of a Dog” which immediately kicked Thorogood out of my head. Allison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, the duo that is The Kills, didn’t miss a beat.

Mosshart, the lead singer, paced around the stage with such confidence that she had me wanting to do the same, if I had more room to move around; while Hince, the guitarist, played with such nonchalance that he threw two different guitar picks into the audience before they even announced themselves.

About five songs into their set, Mosshart looked at the audience and said, “I forgot to say good evening, so good evening.” However, they really didn’t need to say much to the audience because their chemistry on stage said it all.

During “Baby Says” Hince sat down as he played the last minute of the song and was quickly joined by Mosshart. They shared a moment while sitting there that made it seem as if they had forgotten we were all in the audience.

When they got up from sitting on the speaker, they went into M.E.X.I.C.O. Mosshart was right back into showing us her infectious dance moves that she showed off until the end of their set.

The Kills finished their set by taking a bow and saying goodbye to the audience with such genuineness that I actually wasn’t sure if they would be back for an encore. Thankfully, they came back and performed four more songs, including a personal favorite, “Siberian Nights” before calling it a night.

I didn’t know what to expect from The Kills’ live performance, but after seeing them, I would definitely recommend other people check them out.

Set List:
Heart of a Dog
U.R.A. Fever
Kissy Kissy
Hard Habit to Break
Impossible Tracks
Black Balloon
Doing it to Death
Baby Says
Tape Song
Echo Home
Whirling Eye (Radio Germany)
Pots & Pans + Monkey

Siberian Nights
Love is a Deserter
Sour Cherry

A few photos from the night:

Sheran James of The Sharin’ Hour on KX 93.5 looks at what contributes to our longevity, and discovers a few surprising things, eg. reading. But what if you’re dyslexic? Dyslexia can be a gift, says an Oxford professor of epidemeology. Also, books can replace thwarted dreams, according to a young former gymnast. Plus, a developing trend from Denmark: “hygge”.

By Erica Evans

The crowd at The Shins show on Tuesday, March 7 at The Observatory in North Park San Diego was one I’ve never seen before. While waiting for The Shins to come on stage, you can hear tall and short strangers getting to know one another after the tall strangers offered their spot in front to the shorter strangers. And it’s a good thing they switched because the stage design isn’t one that you’d want to miss.

The stage was decorated with giant papier-mâché flowers to promote the artwork on their new album, Heartworms. As soon as The Shins came on stage the backdrop fell to show a giant, colorful skull to match the patterned carpet The Shins were standing on. They came out and immediately began playing “Kissing The Lipless” causing the already friendly crowd to bob their head in unison. After playing “Simple Song”, which was clearly a crowd favorite, The Shins stopped to say hi to the audience.

James Mercer, the lead singer of The Shins, thanked us all for being there on a Tuesday night and said by the sound of us, it doesn’t seem like a Tuesday night. He was right; the energy in the room was so great that it really didn’t feel like we all had to be at work in the morning. They went into a single from their new album, “Name For You” and the radio does not do this song justice. They performed it so well; it felt as if it came from one of their first albums.

While Mercer took a few seconds to tune his guitar, Jon Sortland on the drums started playing the beat to “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas, causing Mercer and most everyone in the audience to start singing along. Mercer starting laughing and said, “next time we come through. But for now, something completely different,” and jumped into “Mine’s Not A High Horse”. Kansas isn’t who you’d expect to hear The Shins doing a quick cover of, but it fit with the carefree vibe in the air that night.

Before playing “Rubber Ballz” Mercer said he knows, “what it’s like to hear a new song from a band coming through, but we got a new song from our record for you.” It’s true; you go to a show wanting to sing along to your favorite songs with the band, but the new songs fit so well with their other work, it didn’t feel new. I hoped they would be selling Heartworms on vinyl at the show since it was just three days before its release date of March 10, (even though I knew I would be wrong) and hearing the new album played made me wish even more that it was true.

The set lasted for an hour and 45 minutes with classics such as “St. Simon” carefully placed between songs from Heartworms such as “Cherry Hearts”. The crowd was dancing along to every minute of their set.

Based on his lyrics, I always envisioned Mercer as being more on the shy side, but I was so wrong. He seemed to really enjoy engaging with the audience. When announcing another song from their new album, “Mildenhall”, Mercer said, “they [the guitarist, Yuuki Matthews] give me the key and I f*** it up. But not tonight.” He definitely didn’t f*** it up.

The Shins came back from the encore singing a crowd favorite, “New Slang” and then one off their new album, “The Fear”. They ended their set with “Sleeping Lessons” and a 30 second break to sing “American Girl” by Tom Petty.

Mercer ended it by wishing all of us goodnight and a, “happy anniversary Mom and Dad,” while looking at the balcony in the theater, making it feel like a truly special show to see. The Shins took a bow together and had me searching for the next time they would be back in Southern California before I even got home.

Set List:
Kissing The Lipless
So Now What
Simple Song
Name For You
Mine’s Not A High Horse
Girl Inform Me
Rubber Ballz
Gone For Good
St. Simon
Cherry Hearts
Sea Legs
Fantasy Island
Painting A Hole
Phantom Limb
Half A Million
Rifle’s Spiral

Caring is Creepy

New Slang
The Fear

Sleeping Lessons

A few photos from the night: