Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"I Want To Know This Time If You’re Really Finally Mine"

concert review: Okkervil River @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario), September 21, 2007

Last Friday night's Okkervil River show at Lee's Palace for me was just short of being a cathartic experience. I missed opener Damien Jurado 's set entirely but I hope to catch him next time - based on reviews I've read(check out Chromewaves), the overly chatty crowd didn't give him much of a break during his subdued set. The newbie that I am to Okkervil River first introduced to them by their song 'For Real' and its album "Black Sheep Boy", the cinematic and dramatic scope of that album was slightly toned down by what I thought was a more ramshackle performance in a live setting. Combined with the more straightforward scope, even poppier tone of the songs off the new album "The Stage Names", the performance didn't wash over me as much as I'd hope for. What they did however do was lessen the mystique that surrounded my impression of the band(which was based on "Black Sheep Boy") and prove to me that they're as much adept at rockin' out like the Rolling Stones as they are at evoking a quieter, dramatic atmosphere. A band that can utilize mandolin, horns, and accordion and not sound 'alt-country'[although, don't get me wrong - I like alt-country] is refreshing to say the least. A few overly rambunctious individuals yelled at some inappropriate times[someone yelled out 'Toronto' like it was some sort of friggin' Blue Jays game] slightly ruining some of the quiter moments to the point that lead vocalist Will Sheff calmed it down a bit by letting out a relaxed 'shhhh', intercepted by his mic and lingering over the crowd. For a moment I thought it was part of the song, but then thought otherwise. As much as the band puts into their sound, I do appreciate that they dressed up[ie in suit jacket, shirt, and slacks] for the occasion although a few of them(including Will) were casual enough to shed the jackets during the encore as I'm sure they must have been sweating buckets at that point[and believe me, the temperature in Lee's was cooking from the beginning]. Overall, one of the best shows of the year.

I took some photos - nothing really spectacular since I wasn't up near the stage, but I'll post a few and/or a link to some in the near future.

MySpace: Okkervil River
Video: Okkervil River - "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" (live at Lee's Palace - Sept 21, 2007)

- video above courtesy of velvet2step

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