For this installment of "Home Court Advantage," we're highlighting the wonderful and quirky indie rock band, The Shins. After moving from Albuquerque, New Mexico The Shins moved to Portland, Oregon and steadily grew in popularity. While they were already pretty popular in some indie rock communities, having that unforgettable "you gotta here this one song, it will change your life, I swear" scene in Garden State didn't hurt things either. Remember?
Members of The Shins have been deeply rooted in Portland from the moment they arrived. Front man, James Mercer even lived in the late Elliott Smith's house for a time. According to an interview with the Willamette Weekly back in 2007, he didn't know it was Smith's house until after he moved in. Only in Portland can something like that happen.
Longtime (now former) Shins drummer, Jesse Sandoval, has had an interesting career evolution in recent years. These days you can find him cooking up sopapillas, burritos, and lunas for hungry customer's at his Nuevo Mexico food cart near the corner of N. Mississippi and Skidmore. While he may not be living the indie-rock star's dream anymore, he's definitely living the Portland dream, to say the least.
James Mercer's calendar looks to be pretty full these days. He's been playing a few solo shows here and there, creating music and touring with this Danger Mouse side project, Broken Bells, and has even flexed his acting muscles a bit. He was recently on a new episode of IFC's Portlandia, alongside The Decemberist's Colin Meloy and Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker. In this episode they played a touring rock group... go figure. James Mercer isn't afraid of the silver-screen either. He is acting alongside Portland's Carrie Brownstein (singer in Sleater-Kinney and star of Portlandia), in the new film called "Some Days Are Better Than Others."
Check out a clip here, and if you're in Portland see the movie at the Hollywood theater from March 25-31.
While they technically deserve the "bandwagon" tag - moving here like so many other indie artists...we certainly don't mind having The Shins in Portland and have enjoyed seeing them assimilate so well into our City of Roses.