Oct 19, 2011

Okkervil River @ Metro Theatre

There is a good chance that Tuesday night at the Metro played host to the gig of 2011. I have seen some great shows this year, but this will be almost impossible to beat for passion, energy and excitement. Bruised glory, ragged joy and ecstatic delight. A band at the peak of its powers. A band for everyone. Well, for everyone who can appreciate great, great, music. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Okkervil River.

This was my sixth time seeing this mighty fine band and they seem to be getting better. They are certainly rocking the foundations. For this showed truly rocked, in every sense of the word. It was passion overflow from start to finish. There were no flat spots either. It was purely great from start to finish. The herky jerk rhythms of "Wake And Be Fine" opened the night and it was most certainly a great way to start. In fact, all the songs played from their latest album were sublime last night. "The Valley" was a monstrous thunderclap of a song, whilst "Rider" was momentous and grand. But I also found songs like "Piratess" and  "Your Past Life as a Blast" were much better live than on record. They were both fun. Of course a band like Okkervil River has a great reservoir of songs to draw on and so they did. Songs like "For Real" and "Black" went down a treat as did the burning beauty of "A Girl In Port". But it was "No Key, No Plam" that stole the show. For this song Will Sheff slowed it down to a slow whisper, with only Patrick Pestorius joining him on stage. It was a starkly beautiful rendition of an already beautiful song. Sublime. There was so much more though. "Our Live Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" was a rollicking end to the main set and then the encore was greatness itself. A banjo intro lit up the melodic beauty of "Lost Coastlines", before "Westfall" took us back to where it all began. Then "Unless It's Kicks" closed the memorable night with appropriate joy and power. Wow! What a band to behold. They were all great, but special mention should be made to new drummer Cully Symington who pounded the skins with immense power and Lauren Gurgiolo who has grown into a confident and commanding guitar player in her relatively short time in the band. The band was really rocking it too, with many songs extended and drawn out to maximum effect. Of course the main man is the incomparable Will Sheff. He is a huge buzzsaw of energy on stage. Singing and playing with gigantic passion and heart he embodies the live experience. He truly is one of the great singers and songwriters of our time. A night to remember. For sure. 

Set List
Wake And Be Fine
For Real
A Girl In Port
Song Of Our So-Called Friend
We Need A Myth
The Valley
No Key, No Plan
So Come Back, I Am Waiting
John Allyn Smith Sails
Your Past Life as a Blast
Our Live Is Not A Movie Or Maybe
Lost Coastlines

The Rise
Unless It's Kicks


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