Shearwater

The Horseshoe Tavern Presents

Shearwater

Death Vessel, JESCA HOOP

Thu, March 27, 2014

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:15 pm

The Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto, ON

$15

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 19 and over

www.horseshoetavern.com

Advance Tickets available at: The Horseshoe Rotate This and Soundscapes

Shearwater - (Set time: 10:30 PM)
Shearwater
Fellow Travelers wasn't supposed to be a full-length record, so I'm a little surprised to admit that it's my favorite Shearwater album so far. Somehow it slipped under the door.

It was meant to be a small thing, maybe a home-recorded EP, to release between Animal Joy and the next full-length (for which we're in the studio right now). But it took on a life of its own. Re-imagining and renovating songs by the bands we've toured with was like leafing through a scrapbook, and brought back the highs and lows of a decade of touring, from dives in Oklahoma and squats in Slovenia to the Fillmore West, the Bataclan, and the MGM Grand (ask me about that one sometime).

Audiences never see most of touring life, and it's the hidden moments that came to mind while we were recording. I thought of Chris Martin, pacing nervously in the bowels of the LA Forum, before the first show of a tour for an album on which EMI had staked its existence; of Brian Campbell, Clinic's indomitable bassist, muttering "I hate these f_____ things" before donning a grimy surgical mask for the thousandth time; of David Thomas Broughton wandering into an audience in Brussels mid-song, knocking things over and falling down, then slipping us a half-smile offstage; of Xiu Xiu hiding stuffed animals and candy in the stacks of a university library for their devoted fans to find; of Sharon Van Etten playing us the rough demos for the album that would put her on the map while she drove our van through the snowy Idaho mountains.

Touring is an expression of faith – in yourself, in your friends, in the hope that the world has a place for you. In that spirit, I invited all the bands we covered to play on Fellow Travelers, with the caveat that you couldn't play on your own song. Almost everyone rose to the bait: Chris from the Baptist Generals turned Clinic's "Tomorrow" into a bewildered, stomping incantation, while Clinic, in turn, infected the Generals' "Fucked Up Life" with drum machines, radio signals, and their trademark combo organ. I added recordings I made of birds and waves in the Falklands to David Thomas Broughton's "Ambiguity," and he sent us a tape he made of sparrows, bulbuls, and the clanking shovels of highway workers in Pyongyang, North Korea (long story), which we spliced into our rock-anthem version of Xiu Xiu's "I Luv the Valley OH!!" And Jenn from Wye Oak, who, like us, had also toured with Lou B, added vocals to "Natural One," our most straight-up reading of the bunch, since I couldn't think of a better way to honor a perfectly-constructed song.

Leon Trotsky, who gave the words "fellow travelers" their political aura, once wrote that "a protest against reality, either conscious or unconscious, active or passive, optimistic or pessimistic, always forms part of a really creative piece of work." Maybe that's why these songs seem like they belong together, to me. Listening back, I get a feeling of common effort, of common purpose, among all of our different musical paths; we've all tried to defy or transform reality in small ways with our music, and to prove it with our performing lives. Playing these songs felt like riding a wave.

— JM, NYC, March 2013
Death Vessel - (Set time: 9:50 PM)
Death Vessel
Death Vessel is Joel Thibodeau's work as both a solo artist and band leader. His music, captured on the resplendent record "Stay Close", is an eloquent distillation of a life's tales. Born in Berlin, Germany before The Wall fell... raised in Kennebunkport, Maine before the senior Bush's presidency... this musician lived a childhood where the ghosts of Cold War casualties and seaport tragedies haunted the alleyways and beaches. Leaving Maine as a teenager, Thibodeau moved to Boston, Providence and New York. In Providence he was a founding member, songwriter and performer of the group String Builder. Now as then, Thibodeau captures the surreal and the sublime in wondrous song.

Thibodeau's vocal delivery is astonishing. Perhaps his singing is best-described as descendent from "the high lonesome sound" - unleashed upon the world by Roscoe Holcomb in the early 1960's. With this voice, Death Vessel delivers stunning lyrical poetry that transcends the "whisky 'n' haystack" imagery of its neo-folk contemporaries. Thibodeau brings this same unusual experimentation to the acoustic guitar (his primary instrument). The daringly melodic plucking of strings and the odd tempo changes provide expertly unexpected accompaniment.
To watch Death Vessel perform live is to watch an audience under a spell. This applies whether it's just Thibodeau alone with an acoustic guitar or with an expanded lineup that often includes regular contributors to Death Vessel Pete Donnelly (The Figgs) and Erik Carlson (Area C).
JESCA HOOP - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
JESCA HOOP
Jesca Hoop has lived all over the map, and her rich life experience is reflected in her distinctive voice and natural gift for inventive song craft.

Hoop learned to sing at an early age, harmonising with her musical Mormon family in northern California. She began writing highly idiosyncratic songs at the age of 14 to keep her company on her long walks to school. At 16, Hoop broke away from her strict upbringing and began what she calls her 'life as a racoon', off the grid & close to nature. Rambling through the high mountain deserts of the Southwest and along the coastlines of the Northwest, she worked as a wilderness survival guide and chalked up skills in farming, surveying, and carpentry. Her songwriting continued throughout, shared on porches, in deep river canyons and around campfires.

In 2004 the desire to share these songs on a broader scale set in. She settled in Los Angeles, where she honed her songwriting craft and developed a reputation as a unique and beguiling live performer of real substance. Though she now resides in Manchester, England, Hoop returned to Los Angeles to record her third album, The House That Jack Built.

Jesca has quite the growing collection of fans in high places: Tom Waits described her music as being "like a four sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night". Peter Gabriel took her to South America to sing with him, and in recent years she has been hand picked to play as support on tour for Eels, Andrew Bird, Punch Brothers, Shearwater and Elbow: Elbow's Guy Garvey even has her do regular stints as guest presenter on his BBC radio show, to great reception.

The follow up to 2009's critically acclaimed Hunting My Dress, this new record displays a striking duality: light and dark, head and heart, it juxtaposes the macabre and visceral with a disarmingly candid intimacy. The resulting combination is powerfully evocative, with overarching themes of biology, nature and humanity – Hoop's stone-turning observations are mired in the equal beauty and violence of a nature that, for her, is clearly red in tooth and claw.
Venue Information:
The Horseshoe Tavern
370 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M5V 2A2
http://www.horseshoetavern.com/