Early yesterday evening we saw Shearwater at the Pace University Schimmel Theater. It was a free show, moved from Castle Clinton because of weather threats. A completely remarkable show, very impressive. A couple years ago we'd seen the band open for Mountain Goats and other than the drummer I found the band more or less or forgettable. I think that show was before Palo Santo version 1.0, and this set drew almost entirely from that album so perhaps that's the difference. Or it might be the venue. I think this show was entirely better because it was indoors in a theater type place (where Inside the Actors Studio is currently taped, in fact...a big investment by Pace, I imagine, which also hosted a debate last presidential election. Trying to raise their profile through the media rather than improving the academics. I feel qualified to critique...I have a degree from Pace.)
I found Shearwater's performance convincing. I don't think they are a band that will necessarily win many fans with a single song, but as the set proceeded I think they won a good deal of the audience who weren't already fans. I remember hearing that they played some kind of magical set in an Austin, TX church during SXSW, and I imagine this was a similar situation. A good match of band to venue, and the best free show I've seen in quite a while.
Flickr Photo is from Brooklyn_Vegan
Here's a kathrynyu Flickr photo of J Meiburg with a tiny skull
Here's the site where you can compare old and new versions of the Palo Santo Songs