with New Villager
At the State Theatre on September 9th, 2011
By Anna Isachenko
How do you pronounce that name again? I had never even heard of Okkervil River before scoring two tickets to their show at Ithaca State Theatre on September 9th! WICB, The Station for Innovation, had a giveaway and I decided to call in to simply test my luck and it prevailed! But I had some catching up to do. That week I listened to the extent of Okkervil River’s music I was able to find on YouTube. With this minimal knowledge of their music I had limited expectations… and, to say the least, I was sold by their live performance!
New Villagers kicked off the show with captivating stage presence. The main attraction remained in the center by the stage amongst the audience. An animated figure was trapped in colorful cloth and other unique decorations. First impressions led to believe that it was someone sleeping in a tent made of old t-shirts. As their set continued, the figure gradually rose building the contraption from the inside, eventually joining the crowd dressed in a black cloak with a pig-like mask. The lead singer showed off his wide range hitting impressive high and low notes alongside pleasant harmonies and abstract electronic melodies. Nevertheless, their songs felt disjointed and perhaps unfitting for the venue. Their mythology inspired set provided a lot of expectation that lacked excitement and left the audience unfulfilled.
The audience doubled when Okkervil River took the stage. All six members demonstrated talent with numerous instruments. Throughout the set you’d hear prominent trumpet melodies, accommodating banjo tunes, sweet harmonica, rocking electric mandolin, and strong satisfying harmonies. Will Sheff, lead vocalist, charmed the audience with passionate singing and an overall dynamic performance. Opening up with their 2011 single “Wake and Be Fine”, Okkervil River continued to play a variety of songs from almost all of their six albums. The show got a little slow towards the middle but the audience didn’t lose interest as it quickly picked up again. Fast pace clapping and dancing reciprocated the energy and excitement the band was expressing. Okkervil River was a great experience and is definitely worth seeing live! The band is currently on tour so don’t miss your chance!
Okkervil River Set List
1)”Wake and Be Fine” -I Am Very Far
2) “For Real” -Black Sheep Boy
3) “Rider” -I Am Very Far
4) “Black” -Black Sheep Boy
5) “A Girl in Port” -The Stage Names
6) “Piratess” -I Am Very Far
7) “It Ends with a Fall” -Down the River of Golden Dreams
8) “We Need a Myth” -I Am Very Far
9) “The Valley” -I Am Very Far
10) “So Come Back, I Am Waiting” -Black Sheep Boy
11) “Your Past Life as a Blast” -I Am Very Far
12) “Lost Coastlines” -The Stand Ins
13) “Unless It’s Kicks” -The Stage Names
14) “White Shadow Waltz” -I Am Very Far
15) “Seas Too Far to Reach” -Down the River of Golden Dreams
16) “Westfall” -Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See