Another one of my favorite bands tonight as, after having enjoyed each minute of Wilco’s set a month earlier, I had now the luck to see Shearwater in Paris. A regular member of our best of the year lists, they are one of these rare bands that manage to cumulate poetry, punk rock energy, subtlety, humility, a talent to compose songs to hum everywhere and all this sung in one of the greatest voices I know (not that far from Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis).
It had been ages since your host last came to la Maroquinerie (2008…) although this is maybe the best place to go to a concert to when in Paris. If you succeed in being not too late for the show, go to their nice restaurant where you will be able to eat real nice food (not your typical rock’n’roll one) and to see the band/artist you came to see having diner in as any other patron. I remember having seen The Dears or Badly Drawn Boy in such an occasion in the past and this time Shearwater were here as well. More than this, their leader Jonathan Meiburg was queueing at the bar to have a coffee alone. Your favorite host took a deep breath, introduced himself and here we were for a 10-minute talk with Jonathan about Austin, travels, birds (he plans to spend one month in May in the Falklands to study them – for the record, he holds a degree in ornithology) and his new stage band due to the fact that usual Shearwater band members changed for this specific tour. Jonathan Meiburg was the way I thought he was and this is refreshing to see such nice musicians… especially 30 minutes before being on stage!
Back to the music then. Tonight’s opening act was the Canadian Julie Doiron who apparently was quite happy to use her French even if her pseudo-humor was a bit embarrassing sometimes to say the least. But quite nice first set, in particular with a cover of Pavement’s Shady Lane.
As described above, Shearwater are playing on a more rock-sounding group for this tour, quite different from the acoustic/electric sounding band where I saw them twice in the past. And that was the best concert of the three as far as I am concerned. These more rock-sounding musicians bring something new to the songs we like so much, giving them extra-space and allowing Jonathan to concentrate on his amazing voice. The show went from excellent to great when they finished their set with a cover of R.E.M.’s “These Days“. Thanks once more guys for such a great time and here is a video I took with a new song from their recent excellent new LP “Animal Joy”. Click on Robert’s blog to see the review of their Oxford show as well.