Last night was Okkervil River at Cat’s Cradle. It was totally worth the school-night drive to Chapel Hill, and the sweat running down my back while my shoes melted into the floor at the sold-out show. My friends Michael and Virginia both love Okkervil River, and they are People Who Know Things, so I knew it was a good bet.
The crowd was so excited about Titus Andronicus, the second opening act, that for a minute we thought they were the main event. Then Okkervil River made it out; they were energetic, and dark, and intense, and powerful, with lyrics like “evil doesn’t look like anything….” Mid-set there was an accoustic duo, which I thought was the strongest part of the show. It was quiet enough to be able to focus on the vocal intensity of the lead singer, and the strength of the lyrics.
Most of the set involved more instruments than I thought were helpful; for six band members, there were two synthesizers, five guitars, one drum set, one banjo, five tambourines, a pair of maracas, bells, rattles, a trumpet, a violin, and a slide trombone. And that was just what I counted; there may have been more. The sound was a bit off, so whatever contribution all of those instruments might have been making was drowned out by general noise. I’d be curious to hear what the band sounded like with a slightly more stripped-down sound. But I’m also going to check out some of their studio albums– there is obviously a lot more richness to the music than I was able to hear.
Great way to kick off a busy June concert stretch- this week includes Small Ponds/Connells/Love Language at the amphitheater, and Mumford and Sons, and the Decemberists, and possibly Bowerbirds/Mt. Moriah, and who knows what else….