Review: Shearwater @ St. Phillips Church, Salford

It was one of the nights in Salford Morrissey sang about. Wet, (and heaven knows) miserable and as the Slouchettes made their way to St. Phillps Church, ghosts of The Smiths seemed to loiter on every street corner.
No ghosts in St. Philips Church, though, only a small congregation of devotees gathered to worship at the Altar of Shearwater. The service took a little while to warm up. Our liturgy, led by Will Samson, was hushed and quiet until about 9-15 when Rev. Meiburg and his priests took their places.

A gold cross glowed on the altar behind them. So it was we were on the road to heaven. Anyone familiar with Animal Joy would be aware of the tremendous beauty enclosed in that slab of vinyl, but I suspect none of us was prepared for the resurrection that took place as the band took those wonderful songs and breathed new life into them.

Yes, we had a couple of tunes from The Golden Archipilago, but the sheer (sorry) weight that songs such as ‘Breaking the Yearlings’ carry and the impassioned rendering by the band left the congregation singing “hallelujah!” After maybe three numbers we had an altar call to come to the front.

We were one body sharing in this HOLY communion. Any lingering doubts that an unbeliever might hold were swept away in the tidal wave that was ‘As you Were’; the band flying and Jonathan seemingly possessed. Wonderful stuff.

A stunning gig by an incredible band. Still unconverted ?

Listen again.

Words: Keith How

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