Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shearwater @ Mohawk, 01.30.09

Chances are that long time Austinites have been rocking out to Shearwater for years now. Since the band's inception in 2001 by two now-former members of Okkervil River, they have five full-length albums to their credit. The latest of those being 2008's Rook released on indie powerhouse Matador Records. This album popped up on several best of year lists and very deserving so. If I had actually taken a listen to Rook last year, it probably would have ended up on my own personal best of list. Unfortunately, sometimes I suck and jump on things late. I heard Rook for the first time only two weeks ago, and since have been in awe of the haunting beauty of this album. With my newly found admiration for Shearwater, I was excited to see that they were playing Mohawk last night (1.30.09).

The band lead by vocalist Jonathan Meiburg braved the cold weather outdoors to put on an amazing performance. They hit the with the song "Rooks" early on and received a great response from the crowd for it. While you'll notice the frequent references of birds in their titles, it's something that seems warranted when you listen to them. Much like the flight of a bird, Shearwater's music is filled with grace, epic movement, and flawless tone. It creates a sound that could be orchestral. Other songs played from the latest album included "The Snow Leopard" and "Leviathan, Bound." As with their recordings, the strength of Shearwater's live show comes from Meiburg. His voice is simply amazing and the vocals are as close to perfect as anyone can get. If he was at all affected by the bitter cold he didn't show it. Their wasn't a shiver to be found.

Shearwater will be touring Europe later this year, but surely Austin will get plenty of opportunities to see this hometown band play in the future. I myself will be taking the time to become fully integrated with their back catalog.

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