Okkervil River Live Review
London KoKo, 22/11/11
Despite originally forming 13 years ago and having released six studio albums and a slew of other work, Okkervil River still feel like a band pushing forward.
New album I Am Very Far has seen the band attempt a more immediate, less intricately polished sound and lyricism, and live the group feel more unashamedly rock'n'roll than on previous tours.
Frontman Will Sheff now leaps, hollers and stomps around the stage, and with his glasses, floppy hair and university lecturer's jacket he comes across as Jarvis Cocker channelling Bruce Springsteen (this is a good thing).
Opening with I Am Far's Wake And Be Fine, the band drew heavily on material from the new album for the show's first half, before mixing in older material as the night wore on, much to the crowd's delight.
The band's previously fluctuating line-up now seems to have settled and the 2011 model Okkervil River are exceptionally tight live, with Cully Symington's powerhouse drumming helping hold together a sound that encompassed guitars, keyboards, bass, some excellent harmony vocals, violin and even a coronet.
Sheff's passion, and the band's newfound ragged power, are infectious - and a fairer world would surely see OR rising to Arcade Fire levels of popularity.
For the time being though it's great to be able to enjoy them at a relatively intimate level, and see them up close and personal as they encore with a beautiful (and completely obscure) harmony laden Ted Lucas cover, before setting off the whole venue in a singalong during the Sloop John B section of John Allyn Smith Sails before the triumphant finish of Westfall.
Wake and Be Fine
The Latest Toughs
Song of Our So-Called Friend
We Need a Myth
White Shadow Waltz
No Key, No Plan
So Come Back, I Am Waiting
It Ends With a Fall
Your Past Life as a Blast
Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
Unless It's Kicks
It Is So Nice To Get Stoned
(Ted Lucas cover)
John Allyn Smith Sails