you’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise

If I can…

  1. Set and a keep a budget for three months …then I can
  2.  Spend a quiet weekend at a bed and breakfast…in order to
  3. See The Shins perform live

These are goals #1, 13 and 9 on my ever-expanding life list.

I’ve written about The Shins a few times but never more succinctly than I did in this post:

I was first introduced to The Shins by myself (how congratulatory) while I wandered through the CD aisles of the (Salina Public) library.  Intuition, probably.  I was collecting CDs to check out when I saw this great album art, which ended up being The Shins’ Chutes too Narrow.  I burned the tracks to my computer and I was absolutely hooked.  Then, Garden State came out and Sam mentioned this “life changing” song by The Shins, which I assumed would be off my pirated album.  When the music began to play, I realized I was wrong and there was more glorious Shins music out there that I wasn’t listening to/letting change my life.  The shame!

Because to be honest, something clicked within me the first time I heard those opening chords to “Kissing the Lipless” and the melodic close to the album, “Those To Come,” which lulled me to sleep many a night and sometimes, still does.  I was never the same and just to be really dramatic, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the understanding I gained through James Mercer’s lyrics.  Yeah, let’s take it that far.

The next CD I pirated was Oh, Inverted World which proceeded to both up my fleeting indie cred and change my life.  What a great two-for!

I was a bona fide Shins fan; I downloaded songs from the Know Your Onion and Fighting in a Sack EPs and I waited in anticipation for their 2007 release of Wincing the Night Away.  At the time, I was convinced I would one day be a music journalist for The Rolling Stone so I subscribed to the magazine and took their album ratings as second only to God.  When they put the Wincing the Night Away review on the cover of the music section, complete with cartoon sketchings, I knew it was going to be another life changing album by The Shins.

I bought this album, which means a lot in the world of Bea.  I listened to it on repeat from beginning to end and I felt it and it was one of those divine moments I assume Taylor Swift fan feels when they claim that she “sings about their life.”  James Mercer was singing about everyone’s lives, ranging from the outcast high school girls in “Phantom Limb” to the lovers discovering their intertwined lives as destiny in “Sea Legs” to the other lover moving on in “Turn on Me.”

I will never, ever lose any of the love I feel for The Shins and for that album.  Seriously, “Girl Sailor” reflects my life more accurately than any Hannah Montana-Cyrus or Taylor Swift song could ever do for me, and it was written by a man twenty years my senior.  Which may be a weird testament to my personality, or, more likely, is a testament to the greatness of his lyrics.  Or, most likely both.

The Shins stopped touring as The Shins in 2009 and I assumed they never would again, especially when the lineup changed and James Mercer pulled a Jack White and formed his own (really awesome) band. But I never took that goal off my list.

In April of this year I was scrolling through their not-updated-with-actual-Shins-news-since-2007 website when I saw the announcement that they would be performing at Outside Lands in San Francisco this August.

I decided I was going almost immediately, before realizing that I somehow had already made unbreakable plans for that exact weekend.


Then I heard about Popped! in Philadelphia.

When I started on 43 Things two summers ago, I made attending a music festival one of my goals. I set a few rules, like festival duration, how far away it could be and the minimum amount of acts I would be seeing. Even though that goal was accomplished last year, those rules still stand and Popped! meets all of them.

I’ve got Bing travel alerts set on flights from Kansas City to Philly and I’m cruising Air B’n’B in my free time and just like James Murphy said (what is it with guys need James in indie bands that I love?): This is happening. LIVE.