Sunday, 4 January 2009

Shearwater, St Giles-in-the-Fields, 22 November

Shearwater @ St Giles-in-the-Fields Church, 22nd November

St Giles-in-the-Fields, nestled in the monolithic shadow of Centrepoint, imposes an attentive quietude on its congregation. Shearwater hold court as our hands and noses turn to ice and chasten our mouths into an awed silence.

Last time I was at St Giles, high priestess Patti Smith held a vigil for Saints Rimbaud and Hendrix, her religious imagery by turns blasphemous and sublime. Tonight, Shearwater scale down the lyrical content to songs for tiny sparrows (God’s most cared-for living thing, as you know), but scale up the sound, barging in on the freezing, silent air and crashing down in grand piano bashes, guitar squall, clattering percussion and, leading the charge, frontman Jonathan Meiburg’s mesmeric voice, mouse-quiet one moment and gale force ten the next.

The band, featuring upright bass, melting electronics and multi-instrumentalist dude Thor, also explores the quieter side of indie rock as originally intended by its two founder members, also of Austin, TX band Okkervil River. The evening ceremony is broadcast to our souls, clear and affecting in the pin-drop silence as we huddle together with scarves wrapped around ears and hands. We got that, loud and clear.

No comments: