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Okkervil River at the Phoenix; Saturday September 28, 2013

forthetrees

TRIBE Member
Silver Gymnasium is Okkervil River’s seventh album over eleven years. It’s pretty amazing to think that the very good Don’t Fall in Love With Everyone You See was Okkervil’s very first album as a band back in 2002.
Originally from Austin, Texas, their frontman and heart of the band is actually from New Hampshire. There’s something really effortless about Sheff’s appearance and presence on stage. With the exception of the very last tune, his effortless came off cool, collected, and strong. The show’s closer “Unless It Kicks” was a pathetic, lazy romp, that sounded like a poor karaoke rendition. The studio version of the tune is energetic and lively, I however certainly cannot extend that for the live vocals. The band however faithfully performed the tune live.

Beyond the final song’s slip, I felt the show was absolutely incredible. They opened with the Silver Gymnasium album opener “It Was My Season.” The piano heavy tune is surprisingly about breaking up and a lost love. It’s amazing that Sheff’s writing is so sophisticated that you wouldn’t assume that it was a song about love, or anywhere near it.

The set was peppered with songs from across the band’s career. Some standouts included an outstanding live version of “Kansas City” and a rocking “For Real” at the beginning of their city. The band played few slow songs, leaving out previous slow show stoppers “Girl in Port” and “A Stone” for an acoustic duet with bassist Patrick Pestorius of the tune “No Key, No Plan” from the Black Sheep Boy Appendix.

While I appreciate the softer side of Okkveril River, I began to love the band for their energetic tunes and quick wording. It was a blast to hear Black Sheep Boy tunes “Black” and “All The Latest Toughs.” Will didn’t jump into the studio bridge of “All the Latest Toughs,” but rather filled it with random banter and said the last bit about “Adding your own intention ____.” It was that very song and printing of lyrics that I fell for the song. The other mega crowd pleasing tune was “John Allyn Smith Sails” which is one part Okkervil and one part Beach Boys tune “Sloop John B.”

Beyond the lazy last song wank, I’d say this show was easily one of my favourite gigs of the year. There’s something painfully good about Okkervil River’s live shows that keep me coming back.

Oh, no “Westfall” this time, which I was completely broke up by.
 
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