I don't think I've been to a gig at The Forum since Garbage played their first UK show there back in 1995 (I think)... sheesh! Anyway, aside from the cloakroom debacle it's a decent venue, nice wide stage and kinda tiered standing area. Even though I arrived relatively late I still managed to secure a great position down the front at the right hand side of the stage. The Shins opened their set with the first four tracks from current album Wincing The Night Away - a pretty invincible start, especially with Anita from Viva Voce lending harmonies to the outstanding single Phantom Limb. It set a precedent which was hard to maintain, largely because I only know songs from the new album, but the band did a valiant job and the crowd were well up for it. I couldn't really tell you what other tracks they played, but it sounded good and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves - whether it really was better than the previous night's show (as they said) who knows? But if would have had to be exceptional to beat this display. Another excellent performance - March has been a very good month for live music.
As an added bonus, I also got to see Viva Voce beforehand. Another band hailing from Portland (the US equivalent of Brighton for its vibrant music scene?) I heard their early Wrecking Ball single on the radio the other week and made a mental note to investigate more of their music, so was delighted to find out they'd be supporting The Shins - even better, I managed to pick up a double CD of their The Heat Can Melt Your Brain and Lovers, Lead The Way! albums for a bargain £4 on my way to the show! A husband and wife duo of Kevin & Anita Robinson, they sounded less like My Bloody Valentine (as I'd been expecting) and more like Joy Zipper or The Breeders - all good stuff though. Wrecking Ball sounded great, as did Lesson No. 1 and it was Kevin's birthday too so there was a very loving vibe around the venue.