Seeing how everyone in town was either at the sold-out Sit & Spin, the sold-out Showbox, or the sold-out Sky Church, Friday night would've been a good time to be a cat burglar. The biggest buzz in town belonged to the Shins. At just after 10 p.m., when a voice announced that the Albuquerque-based Sub Pop band's Sit & Spin show was sold out, the Gnome saw many a crestfallen pouter wishing that they had at least brought their laundry. The Shins' gorgeous new record, Oh, Introverted World, won't be in your disc tray till June 19, but already your trusty eavesdropping reporter heard one disgruntled hipster moaning, "I'm sick of the fucking Shins." A sure sign that you're gonna be big, dear friends, is when some hapless hipster calls you a has-been—before you've even played three shows in their town. The four unassuming boys took the stage sedately and played out their set with modest pleasure and careful ease, saving the lovely, melodic jangle of their single "New Slang" for the tail end of the set. Just blocks away, veteran rockers Guided by Voices wowed the crowded Showbox with three friggin' hours' worth of the Rock. Tearing through new songs as well as back-catalog gems like "Motor Away" and "I Am a Scientist," Bob slugged down a shitload of beer, referred to us all as the kids we wish we still were, and generally painted a pretty good picture of what a superbly functioning alcoholic looks like. Meanwhile, Uncle Paul (Allen, that is) finally got to test out the fortitude of his high-tech cathedral. The always elusive, always absurd Residents played a raucous show, complete with special effects and a crazy-ass light show, in the Sky Church in front of footage from their just-released Icky Flix. The DVD compiles three decades worth of punk rock film shorts—and it works really well as a backdrop, says a Gnome Gnotifier. Between songs, track titles were displayed, like on-screen track or scene listings on a DVD, and the
crowd was charged with determining how the night would play out. Residents fans are ardent fans, so as each song ended, the room erupted in loud, competing applause. And by the end of the night, it seemed as though everyone in attendance got to hear their favorite song.
Same goes for the Waterboys show at the Paramount Saturday. Longtime supporters note that Mike Scott has basically commandeered the band's name and filled the group out with a bunch of nameless sidemen, but their first West Coast show in five years featured fiddler Steve Wickham, who sawed away on 1988's Fisherman's Blues and other releases. Despite a low turnout—less than half the hall's 2,500 capacity—the band came through with a spirited set that included all the hits. You betcha!