Show Review: Okkervil River @ The Parish (9/28)

Okkervil RiverIn the lead up to the release of Okkervil River’s Away, Will talked a lot about his new indifference towards rock n’ roll, so I approached the show on Wednesday night with just a little bit of trepidation. There were some hits, and some misses and then there were Brian’s photos.

We showed up just towards the end of Corvette Summer‘s set, so I don’t really feel like I’d be qualified to comment on the band, but Brian took some photos as we rolled into their roots-rock set.

When it comes to Landlady, Brian and I had different opinions. He wasn’t impressed overall, but I actually found them to be worth the opening slot. They were like Local Natives, but in a jazzier, more explosive manner. They maneuvered between songs and time changes without missing a beat, and their impassioned leader definitely drew the crowd into the performance…think Future Islands but without the dance moves. Adam’s voice and endearing stories definitely added extra elements that most opening slots don’t always get.

Then came Okkervil River, opening with “Okkervil River RIP.” To me, it’s like a statement piece from Will, illustrating the end of one phase of his songwriting career and moving on into the next. The new album, and it’s accompanying songs sounded great, but they were supposed to, right? It’s where he moved into old classics like “Unless It’s Kicks” and “Our Life is Not a Movie” where I found some problems. The heart and soul of those songs was changed entirely to fit the new sound, the more exploratory, jazzier sound, and in doing so, they lost their magic. Those tracks were ingrained into my soul, into my fandom of this band…and they lost me in this performance.

It’s weird. I’m all about change and growth, but some songs are so perfect that even slight changes lose that dynamism, and so while I appreciated the new tracks, I felt let down by the old hits. I walked away feeling indifferent towards the entire set because of that, which is the first time in about a dozen times that I’ve ever left an Okkervil show feeling that way, so take that for what it’s worth.

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