Entries tagged with: Okkervil River
by Bill Pearis
Will Oldham in 'Eden' / Will Sheff's directorial debut 'Down Down the Deep River'
The Rural Route Film Festival happens this weekend (July 24-26) at The Museum of the Moving Image. Now in its 11th year, the fest showcases "international films that take the road less traveled. This year's focus will be on bold, independent women behind and in front of the camera." Music is an element, too, and figures into a couple of the RRFF's events. On Saturday (7/25) it's the world premiere Down Down the Deep River, the directorial debut of Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Sheff will be on hand for the screening, playing a short set before the 42-minute film and participating in a Q&A afterward. Tickets are on sale and here's the synopsis:
The sci-fi fantasy world of two bullied sixth-grade boys invades reality and changes their lives forever. An explosion of the music video into a narrative film, Down Down the Deep River grew out of the recent work of acclaimed indie band Okkervil River, and directed by front man Will Sheff. The song of the same name appears in multiple incarnations throughout the film, interpreted in '80s appropriate styles (New Wave, soft rock, rap). A poetic, abstract tribute to classic children's fantasy films, Down Down the Deep River was shot in and around Sheff's hometown in rural New Hampshire and stars local actors.Then on Sunday (7/26) it's Elise DuRant's new feature Eden which stars Will Oldham:
Nine-year-old Alma is forced to leave Mexico with her artifact-smuggling father, John (played by Will Oldham). Years later, after her father's death, she returns to Mexico to confront the man responsible for their emigration. But she finds more than she was looking for, in the form of a new cultural identity and old secrets that are revealed. This sensitively depicted, personal exploration of the ties-that-bind--to family or country--is a film about our search for roots and a sense of belonging and the love and loss that accompanies this search.Preceding the screening will be a performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache, "the first and only established all-female mariachi band." Director DuRant will be on hand for a Q&A after the film. Tickets are on sale.
You can check out the full list of Rural Route Film Festival screens over at Museum of the Moving Image's website.
Dave Derby, former Dambuilder and current mastermind behind New York's ever-rotating outfit Gramercy Arms seem to have a thing for love. Last year the band dropped The Seasons of Love and now Dave is putting together the NYC edition of long-running post-Valentine's Day tradition "The Love Hangover" at Bowery Electric on February 15. Tickets for the show are available now.
If you're unfamiliar, The Love Hangover features "the world-weary and the true believers alike huddle in pairs, playing songs to heal broken hearts and break whole ones." The NYC edition features a lot of Gramercy Arms-related pairings:
Dave Derby (Gramercy Arms) & Renee LoBue (Elk City, Melting Hopefuls)The next night, Will Sheff will also be DJing the front room Baby's All Right on February 16, which is free.
Kendall Meade (Mascott) & Doug Gillard (Death of Samantha, GBV, Nada Surf)
Will Sheff (Okkervil River) & Beth Wawerna (Bird of Youth)
Lisa Clair & Benjamin Cartel (Kaiser Cartel)
Michael Aranella & Alan Cary (Dreamland Orchestra)
Alison Tusick & Richard Alwyn
In related news, Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws (who sings on The Seasons of Love) will feature on the first of Kevin Devine's split 7" series where Devine teams with artists to cover each other's songs. The first split, out February 24 via Kevin's Devinyl Records, has Caws covering Devine's "Fiscal Cliff" and Devine covering Nada Surf's "Inside of Love," which you can stream (via AV Club) below.
Will Sheff getting ready to drone at Death by Audio in October (via BV Instagram)
Okkervill River frontman, former Shearwater member, Roky Erickson collaborator, Rock*A*Teens superfan, and all around cool guy Will Sheff will play a one-off NYC show TONIGHT (11/13) at Manhattan Inn (632 Manhattan Ave in Brooklyn) which starts at 11:30 PM and is totally FREE. He's promising brand new material and special guests.
Will's last NYC appearance was during the 24-hour drone marathon at Death by Audio in late October where the above picture was taken. DbA only has 10 nights left before closing. Dan Deacon plays tonight.
Watch a video of Will playing solo on a CBS morning show below...
photos by Gretchen Robinette
The Rock*A*Teens @ LPR 8/10/2014
I often make the outrageous drunken claim that the Rock*A*Teens were the best rock and roll band of the 1990s. It's sort of ridiculous to say, but as I write this sentence stone sober and drinking a glass of juice, I still kind of believe it. I keep waiting to not believe it, as I very frequently don't believe all kinds of outrageous claims that I make, but I just cross-referenced with all the other 1990s rock and roll bands in my iTunes (we're talking bands here, not singer-songwriters - and rock, not hip-hop which I think was way more important than rock in the 90s anyway) and I'm pretty much ready to double down; this disastrously scrappy Atlanta band with their not-very-good-sounding recordings and their name half-swiped from a 50's rockabilly outfit were...okay, let's not say the "best," because I don't really believe there's any objective truth when it comes to evaluating music - let's say they were my favorite. They had more great records than Nirvana (although no defining masterpiece), were (a tiny bit) smarter and had more at stake than Pavement, were more consistent than Guided By Voices, and had better all-around songs than Galaxie 500. So, though I love all those other bands, I'm going with them.Okkervil River's Will Sheff got to fulfill a fan's dream of opening for his '90s heroes The Rock*A*Teens who reformed for Merge Records' 25th Anniversary last month. The Le Poisson Rouge show on Monday (8/10) was the second of their two NYC show (the first was at Glasslands). Before this tour, the band hadn't played live in 13 years but frontman Chris Lopez is still a howlin' sweaty true-believer as these photos attest. Other superfans in the audience: AC Newman (New Pornographers), Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), and Chunklet founder Henry Owings.
- Will Sheff
As for Sheff, his band included Takka Takka drummer and National sometimes-co-drummer Conrad Doucette and Craig Montoro on bass and the set included Okkervil River songs plus a Rock*A*Teens cover.. Will's girlfriend, Beth Wawerna, is also a huge R*A*T fan and her band Bird of Youth (named after R*A*T's 2000 album, Sweet Bird of Youth) opened the Glasslands show. Pictures of Will's LPR set and more of Rock*A*Teens' (we missed opener Ricer) are below...
photos by Kyle Dean Reinford; words by Bill Pearis
Bob Mould / Ted Leo / AC Newman @ HiFi, 5/17/2014
Back in the '90s, most up-and-coming indie rock bands touring through NYC played either Mercury Lounge or Brownies. Mike Stuto started booking shows there in 1994, and became co-owner in 1998. (Full disclosure: I've known Mike from before his Brownies days, and the club was the first place I saw a show when I moved to NYC.) Pretty much everybody played there and it was the site of the infamous 1998 show by The Fall that ended in an onstage brawl, with frontman Mark E. Smith arrested. When the club closed in 2002, Stuto turned Brownies into HiFi, a bar with no live music but with a digital jukebox that, at the time (iPods were still a novelty), had an astounding number of songs.
HiFi underwent renovations last fall, adding a small performance room in the back with a bar, and a DJ booth to the front. With the 20th anniversary of his association with 169 Ave A, there was an invite-only "20 Years of Stuto" party at HiFi last Saturday (5/17) that doubled as a benefit for longtime bartender Rhea Buckner who has been battling cancer and incurred a lot of debt from it. You can donate too.
The evening featured a lot of live music, and all the acts had played at Brownies at one point or another. After an opening set from NYC vet Don Piper, we got Boy Morgan (which includes members of Robbers on High Street) who played some of their own '60s-leaning material before inviting up a host of guest vocalists: Will Sheff of Okkervil River did Nick Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind," AC Newman of New Pornographers did Wings' "Mrs. Vanderbilt" which was then followed by Ted Leo doing another Wings' song, knocking out "Band on the Run." Newman remarked, "New Pornographers' first New York show was here, as was my son's first birthday party."
Next up was former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty, which was followed by a short set from Ted Leo who told the crowd he probably wouldn't still be making music if it wasn't for Brownies' support and brought out the Pharmacists for a couple songs as well. Leo also brought up Stuto to do Elvis Costello's "Pump it Up" with the band.
Then out came Bob Mould who, even though it was just him and his electric guitar, was insanely, ear-bleedingly loud. I think his amp only has two settings: on or off. In addition to playing Sugar's "Hoover Dam" and "If I Can't Change Your Mind," we got a couple songs from his soon-to-be-released Beauty & Ruin. Then he brought back out Ted Leo + Pharmacists for a ripping rendition of Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device."
The night's music ended with a set from Saratoga Springs power pop trio The Figgs who were the first band Stuto booked at Brownies. Their set also included some guests: Ben Smith (The Brought Low/Sweet Diesel) sang Small Faces' "Song Of A Baker," Jesse Malin (D Generation) sang the Stones' "Do Do Do Do Do (Heartbreaker)" and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate/Baseball Project) and his wife, Linda Pitmon (on drums) came out for a cover of Lou Reed's "Coney Island Baby."
It was a very fun night and pictures from all the above are in this post. As mentioned, HiFi is hosting live music now in its very small (35 capacity) back room, nothing with drums and nothing as loud as Bob Mould. They host readings and other performances too and you can check their schedule here.
More pics from Saturday's party below...
Bonnaroo 2013 (more by Katherine Hansen)
As mentioned, Bonnaroo 2014 happens June 12 - 15 in Manchester, TN. The fest has already been dropping hints as to who's going to play this year (Kanye and Elton John seem likely as headliners) but will finally spill the beans tonight via a web show called "Blam!" which airs at 9 PM EST on Bonnaroo.com (or an Xbox app). (Maybe you watched last year's with Weird Al Yankovich and Portugal the Man.) This year's announcement special is hosted by SNL's Taran Killam and Broad City's Hannibal Buress, with a "superjam" between The Flaming Lips and Ben Folds.
There's also a pre-Blam! web event from 7 - 9 PM EST featuring live cover song performances from Tenacious D, Kings Of Leon, Phish, My Morning Jacket, and others.
Or you can just check back here: we'll have the full Bonnaroo 2014 line-up in this post once its announced.
UPDATE (9 PM): Lineup now being announced and includes Kanye West, Elton John, Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arctic Monkeys, Phoenix, Mastodon, Frank Ocean, The Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Meshuggah, Damon Albarn, Disclosure, Broken Bells, James Blake, Lionel Ritchie, Jack White, Deafheaven, Janelle Monae, CHVRCHES, Darkside, Phosphorescent, Cloud Nothings, Danny Brown, Cut Copy, Typhoon, Sam Smith, Pusha T, Warpaint, Those Darlins, Cass McCombs, Lauryn Hill, Chromeo, Dr. Dog, The Bouncing Souls, Classixx, First Aid Kit, Fitz and the Tantrums, Chance the Rapper, Ice Cube, Caveman, Washed Out, Real Estate, Rudimental, Ty Segall, Polica, A$AP Ferg, Little Dragon, Omar Souleyman, Lucero, Goat, Okkervil River, Jonathan Wilson, Wiz Khalifa, The Avett Brothers and MANY more.
Tickets go on sale Saturday (2/22) at noon.
Full lineup (spoiler: no Outkast) below...
Phosphorescent at Rough Trade NYC (more by Amanda Hatfield)
8-bit Will Sheff
If there's one thing Portland's Red Fang are known for, apart from monster riffs, it's their love of beer. With that in mind, the band are promoting their upcoming, Chris Funk-produced album, Whales and Leeches (out 10/15 on Relapse), with an online game where you, virtually, chug as much beer as possible while listening to songs from the new record. It's no Tapper, but if you're looking to kill a few minutes before you leave work and kill a few real beers, it'll do. Red Fang will be touring and in NYC with Cancer Bats in December and beyond. Updated dates are listed below.
If you're looking for a more nuanced album-tie-in gaming experience, Will Sheff helped created a videogame that compliments Okkervil River's new album, The Silver Gymnasium, a record inspired by the singer's '80s childhood. Paying homage to such games as Leisure Suit Larry and Maniac Mansion, the online adventure game features 8-bit versions of songs from the album and text by Sheff and co-creater Benjamin Miles. It's a multi-chaptered game with new chapters coming out every two weeks. You can play it here. Okkervil River's tour hit NYC last week (9/26) at Terminal 5.
Red Fang dates below...
Drumgasm, the percussive alternative supergroup of Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney, Wild Flag, Quasi), Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden), and Zach Hill (Death Grips, Hella), are streaming their self titled album at SPIN.
Texas garage punks Bad Sports (members of OBN IIIs) are streaming their new album, Bras, at SPIN.
Torres in Austin in June (more by Tim Griffin)
Grungy folk singer Torres recently wrapped up a tour with Lady Lamb (which didn't hit NYC, but it did hit Austin, as pictured above), and later this year, she'll head out as a support act on Okkervil River's tour. She's not listed as an opener for Okkervil River's previously discussed NYC show at Terminal 5 on 9/26 (Black Joe Lewis and Pickwick are though), but she opens many of the surrounding dates and is set to play her own NYC show the day before that at Glasslands (9/25). Tickets for the Glasslands show are on sale now. All Torres dates are listed below.
Since we last spoke, Okkervil River expanded their tour to include many more dates, and announced that the tour is in support of a new album, The Silver Gymnasium, which is due out on September 3 via ATO. Updated dates are listed, along with streams of two tracks from that album, below.
by Andrew Sacher
Okkervil River at Grand Central in April (more by Fred Pessaro)
Austin folk rockers Okkervil River were in NYC back in April for a show at Grand Central Terminal, and they've just announced that they'll return to the city for a show at a more traditional venue on September 26 at Terminal 5 with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and Pickwick. A full tour hasn't been announced but the show falls in between their appearances at Boston Calling and ACL Fest, so it wouldn't be surprising if one is announced soon. Tickets For the T5 show go on sale Friday (6/7) at noon.
Seattle's Pickwick were recently in NYC for a sold-out Mercury Lounge show with Basia Bulat (which Pickwick headlined), and they released their debut album, Can't Talk Medicine, earlier this year. It features a cover of Richard Swift's "Lady Luck" with guest vocals from Sharon Van Etten, plus twelve original tracks of soul-inspired twang-rock. You can watch the video for "Lady Luck," along with a stream of the entire album, below.
rainy Saturday at Boston Calling Music Festival (via Kevin Begley)
The first-ever Boston Calling Music Festival went down over the weekend (5/25-26) at Boston's City Hall Plaza. It was headlined by The National (whose Aaron Dessner also curated it, and who just did lots of album celebrating in NYC), and also included sets by The National's tourmates Dirty Projectors, The Shins (who also played a NYC show this past weekend), The Walkmen (who play a free show during Northside), Youth Lagoon (who open The National's Barclays Center show), and more.
Despite the rain and cold temperatures we were faced with over the weekend, the inaugural festival still seemed to be a success and festival organizers have already announced that Boston Calling will return this fall on September 7 and 8. The fall lineup is being headlined by Vampire Weekend on the Saturday, along with sets by Local Natives, The Gaslight Anthem, Bat For Lashes, Deer Tick, Okkervil River, and more; and headlined by Passion Pit on the Sunday, along with sets from Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, Solange, Flosstradamus, Flume, and more. Full lineup below (via Pitchfork).
Early bird 2-day passes go on sale Friday (5/31) at 10 AM and single day tickets go on sale June 7.
Both Local Natives and Kendrick Lamar also play NYC festival Governors Ball in June, which is only one of Kendrick's upcoming festival appearances in the NYC-area. Vampire Weekend and Solange play a NYC show together, and Solange also plays a free show during Northside. Major Lazer and Flosstradamus will hit NYC for their Mad Decent Block Party. And The Gaslight Anthem play two NYC shows this summer too.
Full Boston Calling fall lineup and flyer below...
by Fred Pessaro // BBG
A giant marble room is a bit of an odd space for a band with amplifiers, but last night (4/8) that was the setting for an Okkervil River show at Grand Central Terminal (yes, the train depot). The Austin-based band played to the historic room for a show sponsored by Jack Daniels as part of the #JackLIVE series, a set of free shows across the country open to the public and featuring free booze and, at least in tonight's case, pizza. Yum.
But back to the show, Will Sheff acknowledged the echo-i-ness of a room of that make, and as such played "quiet" songs for a good portion of the set (quipping, "though I guess quiet is all relative"). Yet despite a predominantly gentle show, Sheff belted out vocals as he does best, as hard as he can.... as bulging neck veins and spittle caught in the stage lighting can attest.
More pictures and setlist from last night are below.
DOWNLOAD: Lovestreams - "Shock Corridor" (MP3)
Will Sheff at SXSW 2012 (more by Tim Griffin)
Jack Daniel's is "serving up great whiskey and great live music at legendary American Landmarks" with their new concert series. You can click that link to find the closest one to you (it happens in NYC, San Diego, San Antonio, and LA) and for those in NYC, you'll get yours on April 8 at Grand Central Terminal with Okkervil River. It opens at 6:30 and you'll have to enter Jack Daniel's contest to get in.
Okkervil River don't have any other shows announced at the moment. Meanwhile, listen to the track "Shock Corridor" from frontman Will Sheff's new solo project, Lovestreams, below, or download it above.
Obama hugs Bruce Springsteen (pre-election night)
A selection of tweets reacting to Obama's big win last night....
":)" - Grizzly Bear
"YES" - Amanda Palmer
"yeah!!!!" - Laurel Halo
"FUCK YES" - HEALTH
"fuck yeah." - Colin Meloy
"FUCK YEAH AMERICA!!! #OBAMA" - King Tuff
photos by Tim Griffin
Daniel Johnston @ The Belmont on 3/13
"A packed house of fans and well-wishers turned out to the Belmont Lounge Tuesday night for an official South by Southwest showcase to celebrate the release of Daniel Johnston's new graphic novel, "Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness." The event, which was hosted by Brooklyn Vegan, included performances by Built to Spill, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, R. Stevie Moore, Kimya Dawson and Johnston himself. Alex Maas of Black Angels, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and Irish folk singer Foy Vance all each performed Johnston covers before the renowned songwriter took the stage.We kicked off SXSW in style Tuesday night, our first of three official BrooklynVegan showcases at the Austin festival this year, with six hours of music including "special guest" Caveman who we couldn't announce due to another show they had to play that night. Dinosaur Feathers began things right at 8pm.
Nearly all who performed had some accolades to offer Johnston, the legendarily troubled outsider artist-turned-indie rock darling whose notoriety was cemented by Kurt Cobain when the Nirvana frontman famously wore a T-shirt of the cover to Johnston's album, Hi, How Are You?. [Hollywood Reporter]
It was all in celebration of "Space Ducks" which is out now as a Boom Comics graphic novel, and as a FREE iPad app you can download now, new Daniel Johnston music and tributes included (the soundtrack will get a physical release in a few weeks). Props to the team at Wieden + Kennedy for helping Daniel create something so cool with his art, and to Search Party, Primary Wave, Strike Team, Eternal Yip Eye Music, all the artists who played, and everyone else that helped us make the Tuesday night show and comic happen.
Almost everyone on the bill covered a Daniel Johnston song, and many came back to join Daniel on "True Love Will Find You in the End." Jeffrey Lewis, with help from Kimya (collectively they are the Bundles), debuted new song "Space Ducks" which Jeffrey wrote for the app at our request. New DJ-inspired songs are unlocked after you work your way through the Space Ducks galaxy. There are also songs in the app, co-curated by Search Party, by Deer Tick, Eleanor Friedberger, Lavender Diamond, and others.
Built to Spill closed down the outdoor show beautifully; it was just too bad that Austin has a 2am curfew...
Co-headliners Built to Spill couldn't begin their set until 1:15, and frontman Doug Martsch vowed to "play until they make us stop," which was going to be 2:00 regardless. It's a common rock show cliché, but true to their word, they kept going until the Belmont's people had to get on the sound system to tell them to stop, prompting a chorus of boos. But the elder indie statesmen were still able to cap it off by driving through an extended version of "Conventional Wisdom," effectively ensuring everyone would still be going home happy." [IDSNews]Here's a set of pictures from the special evening (and we have a second set coming soon on BV Austin. UPDATE: here they are). More below...
Okkervil River (more by Joshua Mellin)
now with Okkervil River....
We're excited to announce that Austin's own Okkervil River has been added to the Saturday lineup of Hotel Vegan @ Hotel Vegas (1500 East 6th St, Austin, TX)! Consider them a BV Austin-presented special set to help close us down in style. Will Sheff, who also played our Tuesday night Daniel Johnston tribute, and crew, will be the last band on our main stage and play as the final band of the day and week @bvSXSW. So now Saturday looks like this:
Saturday, March 17, 2012All this 100% free, and meanwhile... it's still Friday, so if you're in Austin get over to Hotel Vegan (where we're also serving free drinks courtesy of Hobnob Wines & Original Moonshine. Austin's own The Black Angels are our last band of today. See you there!
Stage 1 (Hotel Vegas Outside)
12:00 Field Report
12:45 Ivan & Alyosha
1:30 Father John Misty (J Tilman, ex-Fleet Foxes)
2:15 J. Roddy Walston
4:00 Heartless Bastards
5:00 Diamond Rugs (John McCauley of Deer Tick w/ members of Los Lobos, Black Lips & more)
6:00 Okkervil River (JUST ADDED)
Stage 2 (Hotel Vegas Inside) (hip hop stage)
12:15 - Lushlife
01:00 - Main Attrakionz
01:45 - Cadence Weapon
02:30 - Rittz
03:15 - Fat Tony
04:00 - Spaceghostpurrp
04:45 - Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire
05:30 - Action Bronson
Stage 3 (Volstead)
12:00 - Patrolled By Radar
1:00 - Emily Wells
2:00 - Phantom Family Halo
2:45 - Lumerians
3:30 - Hundred Visions
4:15 - Pond (mem. of Tame Impala)
5:00 - GUARDS
Friday and Saturday flyers below....
Hinted at and posted in some form on SXSW's website recently, but now offically announced... BrooklynVegan had the honor of helping put together what will be a very special show happening this Tuesday, March 13, 2012 in Austin as part of SXSW at the Belmont in honor of muiti-talented artist Daniel Johnston's very first comic book "Space Ducks", or more specifically to help celebrate the release of the FREE iPad app version that is coming first, new Daniel Johnston songs and tributes to him included. Read more about the forthcoming app and partially-Kickstarter funded graphic novel, which you can PRE-ORDER NOW, at the end of this post.
The party, big flyer HERE, is open to all SXSW badgeholders. Get there early for drink specials courtesy of Original Moonshine, Tecate and Republic Tequilia, and to experience the entire night of special sets. There will be Daniel Johnston covers and tributes throughout, with co-headlining performances by Daniel Johnston and Built to Spill. It will go like this:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @ the Belmont, Austin, TXDoors close at 2am.
8:00 Dinosaur Feathers
8:40 special guest (a band we're not allowed to announce)
9:25 R. Stevie Moore
9:55 Jeffrey Lewis
10:25 Kimya Dawson
11:10 Will Sheff of Okkervil River
11:35 Foy Vance
11:40 Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit
11:45 Alex Maas of the Black Angels
11:55 Daniel Johnston & Motopony
01:05 Built to Spill
This show is happening one night before the BrooklynVegan official SXSW showcase at Bar 96 which is two nights before the BrooklynVegan/Power of the Riff official SXSW showcase at Scoot Inn.
Learn more about Space Ducks, and others who had a hand in this all, below...
words by Christopher Paragraph, photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin
DOWNLOAD: Bird of Youth - Bombs Away, She Is Here to Stay (MP3)
Sondre Lerche looking sexy as usual @ MHOW Friday night
The Friday night show at Music Hall of Williamsburg featured three very different songwriters who all happen to live within a few blocks of the venue. The same is true for me so, in terms of proximity, the night was a success before it even began.
Bird Of Youth opened with a couple songs from their self-released album "Defender," breezing through them with ease and on-stage confidence that one would usually expect from a more seasoned band. This helped to counteract the darker themes of the songs, perhaps the best example of which was a song that lead singer Beth Wawerna wrote for her father. The unforgettable closing lines, "you watched me as I watched you watch me cry," caught more than a few off-guard. The songs are unique in terms of Wawerna's vocal phrasing. Rather than writing melodies over single chords, the melodies seem to form themselves over the chord changes. It feels like she allows the phrases to emerge from the song, instead of constructing a song around a pre-conceived melody. As a songwriter, Wawerna is doing something special and distinct. Unlike many female-fronted bands of their ilk, the songs don't hide behind her voice; her voice seems to be dragged along by the force of each song. This may present a problem for a pop singer, but for a band like Bird Of Youth, it proves to be a perfect way to articulate emotional, expressive songs. The last song of their short set took a different turn, however, and was significantly more poppy and conventionally structured. Working in a Nada Surf-esque style, the song succeeds in a way that runs counter the aforementioned thoughts in this review. An interesting way to end the set, leaving the audience pleased but just unsure enough to want to hear more.
Next was Will Sheff, frontman for the successful Okkervil River, a solo set sandwiched between two bands. It was informative and interesting to see Sheff perform solo. Over the years, Okkervil River has come to be known for their energetic, literate folk pop anthems. But most hear them as simply "a rock band." Sheff's folk influences shined through in this set, making the DNA of Okkervil River more apparent. Hearing these songs strummed and picked on an acoustic guitar made clear the influences of British folk songwriters like Roy Harper and Bill Fay. For audience members not interested in the musical roots behind Okkervil River (which many Sondre Lerche fans probably are not) Sheff provided an honest and emphatic set of complex, lyric-driven songs. It was clear form the entranced crowd that Sheff won over a bunch of new fans. Or at least hooked their curiosity. Sheff's lyrics beg the listener to re-listen. As opposed to the chordally-led phrasing of Beth Wawerna, Sheff's songs are driven by lyrics and melodies that command the chords. It was interesting to see songwriting approached from such different angles back-to-back. It is worth noting at this point that there were many people in the far back of the room who seemed intent on talking louder than the music. One can only assume they were attending to "see" Sondre Lerche and felt completely justified in talking over any other artist performing. Sheff took a moment to point out these people (which of course went right over their heads). This resulted in supportive applause from the majority, who were clearly distracted and annoyed by the loud group in the back.
SIDE NOTE: this raises a question, or at least an interesting debate: Is it "OK" to talk loudly at a concert? If someone pays $15 to see a show, isn't it reasonable to expect them to listen to the songs? And even if they aren't interested in a certain artist, isn't it reasonable to expect the respect and courtesy of keeping one's voice quiet, both in regards to the artists themselves and the fans who might actually be trying to listen? In the event that this occurs, should the artist take the initiative to shush them, or should a fellow audience member? Both? Neither? Discuss.
Back to the show. When Sondre Lerche took the stage, a young cavalcade of girls had pushed their way to the front. As he stepped to the mic the screams were shrill and unexpectedly loud. Lerche introduced himself with a solo number before bringing out the band. Although the synth player and bassist had apparently just joined the band a couple weeks earlier, they played tight and confidently, each member brimming with excitement about the songs, not just following charts. The drummer's incredible precision almost stole the show - he brought the energy of the songs out in ways drummers rarely can, and was single-handedly responsible for many "jaw-drop" moments. The only real way to describe it is that it's fueled by real passion for the songs. It's that special intangible thing you can't fake, and this guy clearly has it. Lerche fired off short gems from throughout his career, never letting go of the stranglehold he had on the crowd from the moment he stepped out. On one level his songs are complex, melding jazz chords with pop melodies a la Steely Dan. On another, he's able to perform simple, quiet ballads, which he did at one point, stepping away and unplugging, treating the silent room to an acoustic rendition of "Dear Laughing Doubters."
There were a handful of particularly special moments, including a performance of "When The River," a song about homesickness featuring a choir of the "people he misses most when he's away." This group included his wife, local songwriter JBM, and actor Christopher Abbott. Will Sheff and Beth Wawerna also joined Sondre on stage to trade verses on a cover of Steely Dan's "Dirty Work."
By the time the show was over, it truly felt like Lerche had turned the room into his own house full of friends. He stood atop a monitor wedge and performed the final encore, harmonizing to the 600+ people taking the lead vocal on "Modern Nature." Lerche has toured for years as a solo artist but seeing him with a band showed that he's not just a one-man show. His music is big and the full-band show proved him to be a full fledged rock n roll guy.
More pictures from the show, setlists included, and a video of Sondre and band on Letterman (from 11/22), below...
Will Sheff of Okkervil River at Fun Fun Fun Fest (more by Tim Griffin)
Okkervil River have released a new covers EP Golden Opportunities 2, the follow-up to 2007's Golden Opportunities EP. Much like that 2007 release, part deux is FREE, but features songs from Ted Lucas, Jim Sullivan, David McComb, Bill Fay, and others. Get your copy at their site.
Okkervil River have no US dates at the moment, but you can catch frontman Will Sheff at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 12/2 with Sondre Lerche and Bird of Youth. Tickets are still available. Note: though Sondre did just tour with them, Peter Wolf Crier are not also opening the Brooklyn show.
photos by Tim Griffin
It's now Saturday and Fun Fun Fun Fest's second day is already underway and streaming on Pitchfork.
Yesterday, Friday, while BBG was holding down the black stage (which Danzig eventually played), Tim (who ran into Ryan Gosling more than once), was handling most of the other music the Austin fest had to offer. A quick selection of Tim's pictures from Friday continues below...
Marnie Stern @ CMJ 2010 (more by Chris La Putt)
today in NYC
* X @ Maxwell's
* Tom Shillue @ UCB East
* foci loci @ The Stone
* Mike Wexler @ Zebulon
* Burlesque Fest @ the Bell House
* Anika in Princeton, NJ
* Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Tim Hodgkinson @ The Stone
* Underground Horns @ Barbes
* Michael Moore @ St Mark's Bookstore
* Rapper's Delight @ Knitting Factory
* Black Moon, Big Daddy Kane @ Southpaw
* Twin Sister, Ava Luna @ Mercury Lounge
* Factory Floor, Walls @ Mercury Lounge
* Eszter Balint, Chris Cochrane @ Barbes
* The Roots, The Hold Steady @ The Intrepid
* DJ Premier, Kendra Morris @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Radiohead, Four Tet, etc @ Roseland Ballroom
* Brown Bird, Matt Bauer, Melaena Cadiz @ Union Pool
* Marnie Stern, No Joy @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* North Highlands, Neighbors, Snowmine @ Cameo Gallery
* Bird of Youth, Amy Klein, Jo Schornikow @ Union Hall
* Howler, MiniBoone, The Infinities, Mainland @ Glasslands
* Baba Yaga, Hani and A Thief, Chavez, Some Army @ Lit Lounge
* Ty Segall, Human Eye, Mikal Cronin, K Holes @ Bowery Ballroom
* Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Minerva Lions @ Brooklyn Bowl
* The Felice Brothers, Nicole Atkins, Diamond Doves @ Webster Hall
* Dark Dark Dark, A Hawk and A Hacksaw, Pillars and Tongues @ Drom
* Viking Moses, The Heaven's Jail Band, People Get Ready, Virgin Forest @ Death By Audio
Radiohead plays again tonight.
ATP-playing band Factory Floor play again in NYC tonight too.
Ditto on A Hawk and a Hacksaw.
ATP starts tomorrow!
Okkervil River have a new video for "Your Past Life As A Blast". Check it out below...
DOWNLOAD: Okkervil River - Your Past Life as a Blast (MP3)
Okkervil River at Terminal 5 in June (more by Amanda Hatfield)
After the Soundtown Music Festival and a few shows with The Decemberists and Fruit Bats this month, Okkervil River will kick off a headlining tour, much of which is with Wye Oak. The tour kicks off at State Theatre of Ithaca in Ithaca, NY with Bird of Youth and NewVillager and also includes appearances at VIrgin Free Fest and Midpoint Music Festival. Okkervil River and Wye Oak were both scheduled to also play Truck America in the Catskills but the festival has since been cancelled (hence the Ithaca show). All dates are listed below.
Okkervil River recently released a 7-inch for "Your Past Life As A Blast" off their new record I Am Very Far. Grab that song for free above.
Bird of Youth (aka Beth Wawerna), who opens the Okkervil River show in Ithaca and whose debut album Defender was produced by Will Sheff of Okkervil River, has some of her own shows coming up too. She plays tonight (8/18) at The Living Room at 9 PM after a 'WFUV Live members only broadcast' by Nick Lowe at 7 PM (Nick also opens for Wilco in September at Summerstage). Bird of Youth also plays September 29 at Union Hall with Amy Klein (of Titus Andronius) and Jo Schornikow (of The Shivers). Tickets are on sale now for that.
Okkervil River are also set to play Fun Fun Fun Fest which takes place in Austin, TX from November 4 - 6. The festival announced more artists for the already-incredible lineup today including fellow big Austin indie band Spoon (their only 2011 show), the Black Lips, Omar Souleyman, Sergio "Sexy Sax Man" Flores, Cannibal Corpse, "and more". The full lineup is at FFFest's site and tickets are still on sale.
All dates and a video below...
Slayer at Izod Center (photos by Samantha Marble)
Slayer, Thee Oh Sees, Public Enemy, Girls, Danzig Legacy, (Danzig + Doyle von Frankenstein playing Misfits, Samhain & Danzig), Hot Snakes, Diplo, Major Lazer, Henry Rollins, Ted Leo & The Phramacists, Spank Rock, Murder City Devils, Hum, Lykke Li, Passion Pit, Four Tet, Rakim, The Damned, Austra, Purity Ring, and Flynt Flossy are just a few of the acts announced today as part of the Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 lineup. Another amazing year! Check out the full lineup below and stay tuned for more announcements coming in August and September.
The new additions to the Austin, Texas festival, which takes place from 11/4 - 11/6, are in addition to the the previous "lineup leaks" that included Brian Posehn, Odd Future, Okkervil River, M83, X (performing "Los Angeles"), Reggie Watts, Flying Lotus, Tune-Yards, Ra Ra Riot, Kid Dynamite and others
2011 is the festival's sixth year, but first at its new home Auditorium Shores (no more Waterloo Park). Tickets are on sale now.
Fun Fun Fun 2011 flyer and almost-full lineup is below.