Spoiler alert! We heard rumours Shearwater were pulling out all the stops with a show including – we kid you not – gloves that beam light. We couldn’t miss this.
Wrapping up a three week stint in Europe, the indie rock band from Austin, Texas, were at The Haunt to promote their 2016 release ‘Jet Plane And Oxbow’.
Although their early stage action was fairly subdued, the banter between songs was tuned to an English audience; captivating, dry and witty. The stage was illuminated with vertical coloured strips that invariably changed colour with the mood of each song. It was evident that stage design was key to frontman Jonathan Meiburg by his quick refusal to dim the front strips for dazzled onlookers. It shouldn’t be surprising that his surrounding environment is important to him though, because unlike many other indie rockstars Meiburg’s also a naturalist.
On theme with what’s happening in their home territories, a song about the American presidential election campaign was announced, only to see Meiburg depart the stage in jest to the bellowing chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” We’re not sure if it was the gibes, or the very thought of Trump for President, but the next song talked of “the tiny voice in your head that tells you to kill yourself”.
With the music becoming more experimental and progressive, the overhead stage lights and installation strip lights were dimmed almost entirely to reveal what we had been anticipating. They ended with the stupendous ‘Stray Light At Clouds Hill’ in what truly was a climatic finale. Psychedelic laser gloves, and all.
The Haunt, Thursday 25th February 2016
Words and photos By Francesca Moore