Thursday, February 25, 2010
GIG REVIEW (By a Very Special Guest Contributor)
Islands in the Stream - Shearwater, Captain's Rest, Glasgow, 23-02-10.
It's really quite something to witness. Possibly your favourite collection of musicians of the moment, of the decade, playing in a venue the size of your old living room up in the West End of the city. On tour to promote their new album, The Golden Archipelago, the Captain's Rest in Glasgow is packed tight with both locals and outsiders and the atmosphere for Shearwater's performance is expectant, to say the least.
Supported by the rather intriguing David Thomas Broughton, the set from Austin's finest is largely drawn from their new album, of course, and the transition from studio to live setting is as sublime and triumphant as it appears fun and effortless.
This is not a surprise, given the sheer musical talent on display. For this humble attendee, it will always be Jonathan's heart-melting vocals that steals every scene, although the closing sections of Hidden Lake, where Thor and Kimberley duet via Glockenspiel, was a sight and sound to treasure.
In addition to material from the new album, Shearwater dip into what is now a sizeable back catalogue and let new light shine on songs such as Rooks, The Snow Leopard and Hail, Mary (the latter their choice set closer). What is most noticeable from a wonderful evening on the Great Western Road is two things - how much pleasure Jonathan, Kimberley, Jordan, Thor and Kevin clearly obtain from playing together (they 'need' to do this, there seems to be no choice) and how keen they are, as a collective, to ensure the audience enjoys the performance as much as they do in creating it.
It is a genuine and felt connection. It's always telling, really, when you look up on stage and see big smiles coming towards you as a song such as Runners of the Sun hits that point when the sheer, almost visual, beauty behind it comes out to say hello, and hold you close. It was a night to cherish and remember, even though their pitch-perfect cover of Talk Talk's The Rainbow never made the final cut, alas.
Do go out and see them play, if you can, and pick up The Golden Archipelago - an album that must surely feature in those 'best-of' lists, when the time comes.
Review by Comrade Colin
Note from JC.
I don't know all that much about Shearwater, and I certainly don't know any of their songs. But it is a long time since I've gone along to a gig and been so utterly captivated by what I was seeing and hearing no more than six feet in front of me. It was a night that became unforgettable for a whole number of reasons, not least the music, but also bumping into Ed and Mrs Ed from 17 Seconds as well as spotting Aidan Moffat standing at the main bar with Malcolm Middleton enjoying a few beers before slipping quietly to the back of the packed venue to enjoy the gig (well, I'm assuming they enjoyed it....if not they would have been in a minority).
Incidentally,the author of this review is someone without whom this blog would never have got off the ground and whose own now sadly deleted blogs from long. long time ago remain a standard to which I will always aspire......and here's the song he wanted to accompany his words:-
***mp3 : Shearwater - Runners Of The Sun
*** Sadly, within a matter of hours of this positve review appearing, someone unknown has been in touch with my file management service, and I received the following:-
To whom it may concern,
We have recently received a complaint regarding the following file(s), which you have been sharing through your Box.net account, and infringe on a previously-held copyright:
Shearwater - Runners Of The Sun.mp3
We have deleted the above file(s) from your account. Please delete any other files from your account that may infringe on any previously-held copyrights, as these go against the Box.net Terms of Service. Be aware that further infractions may result in account termination.
However, there is a way to hear some very fine tunes, as our intrepid reviewer explains:-
ah, sorry about the box.net troubles jc. the album is only just out in the states, i think, and Matador are doubtless keen to 'protect' their new product. but, if you go to shearwatermusic.com you can download (legally) a couple of tracks made available from the new album - 'Black Eyes' and 'Castaways'. ok, over and out.