Over the past month, it's been hard to open any music publication (including these pages) without reading an article praising Okkervil River and its new LP, Black Sheep Boy. Singer Will Sheff has crafted a song cycle around his favorite themes of alienation and self-loathing, all backed by the electric tumult of his bandmates. By virtue of sharing four members with Okkervil River, Shearwater is invariably a "side project" of sorts, though here keyboardist Jonathan Meiburg gets a chance to air his plaintive, tenderly voiced songs alongside some of Sheff's quieter work. Thieves, the band's latest EP, works as a gentle foil to some of Okkervil River's more volatile, manic moments. These mostly acoustic songs have a great sense of the dramatic; "Mountain Laurel" moves from gentle banjo-picking into a keening call-to-arms in just over two minutes, sounding like a cross between Fairport Convention and the Waterboys.
Appearing alongside Shearwater will be local band Magnolia Summer, which is in the midst of recording its second record. Singer and guitarist Chris Grabau describes the band's progression: "Our last few shows have been as a four-piece and [we've] felt a lot more like a rock band. Not that we're turning into Molly Hatchet.... I just think the songwriting has steered things more towards electric guitar." It also doesn't hurt when your lead guitarist is St. Louis favorite John Horton.
Shearwater and Magnolia Summer can go from loud to soft, from intimate to explosive in mere seconds. Fans of intelligent, song-driven rock & roll should not miss this show.
Call 314-863-0099 for ticket price and more information.