Okkervil River – Grand Social – Live Review – 13/10/18
Okkervil River released ‘In The Rainbow Rain’ in April of this year which marked a change in direction for the band, with a new line up including Benjamin Lazar Davis (bass), Will Graefe (guitar), Sarah Pedinotti (keys) and Cully Symington (percussion). This line up is also the touring band and Dubln were treated to a very impressive night of muisc on Saturday (13/10/18). Those that braved the wind and rain saw a set that included most of the new album and also a variety of treats from their earlier work.
The Dublin date was the last of the tour, one which lead singer Will Sheff stated was almost as memorable as his first tour ever, where he was surprised that people were willing to pay money to listen to him play! He said while they were all exhausted, they would just like a week off and then to go back to the tour. It was obvious from the opening songs that this was a band hitting their stride, with lead guitarist Will Graefe and Sarah Pedinotti on keys particularly impressing. Will Sheff looked every inch a rock star with long hair and beard making him resemble a later day John Lennon.
It is often Dublin’s fate to be the first or the last night of a tour, as we’re at the end of Europe! If we are the first date, it’s often the case that the new album isn’t released yet or the band are just settling into playing live again. If it is the last date, it is another ball game as the band are as well drilled as they will ever be and there’s a sense of celebration in the air, and so it was on Saturday.
The band opened with a song off the new album in Pulled Up the Ribbon which set the tone with a nice mix of guitars, bass, keyboard and drums. The fifth song of the night was introduced as a song about ‘an operation I had as a child’, in ‘Famous Tracheotomies’ which was another highlight. There was a stripped down version of Get Big (Black Sheep Boy) with only Will on guitar/ vocals and Sarah on backing vocals.
“Once we get to the end of this song
Then it will begin again” – Get Big
New Blood was introduced as a song released as they wanted something new to play on tour! The final song of the set was For Real from the much loved Black Sheep Boy from 2005. There was a three song encore featuring the highly impressive Lost Coastlines and they ended the evening with Unless It’s Kicks from the 2007 album The Stage Names.
The night was short on banter, at one point Will was asked to tell a story to which he replied his next song told a story! They were highly focused on the music and barely let the pace drop for an instant. While there may have been better places to be last Saturday in Dublin, you’d struggle to convince anyone that was there to witness this band at the peak of their powers.
Set List –
Pulled Up the Ribbon
It Ends With a Fall
Down Down the Deep River
Don’t Move Back to LA
Judey on a Street
John Allyn Smith Sails
A Girl in Port
Unless It’s Kicks