In the red womb of Nice ‘N’ Sleazy’s, a largely bespectacled crowd surges along with every syllable of Okkervil River’s performance. The quintet (which slowly morphs into a sextet) takes the stage of the basement space to rapturous applause. The well dressed lead, Will Sheff, commands everyone’s attention, with his effortless shifting between growling and crooning. If he is Okkervil River, his words and his energy are what makes the waters rush. Every song delivers more than their recorded tracks could ever promise. A pedal steel is introduced with “A Girl at Port”. With its somber tone, the song is a departure from most of the performance: “I’m just a guest. I’m not a part, with my tender head, with my easy heart,” Sheff croons. Like most in the set, however, it ends with a raucous jam out. Seeing this force of nature in action is worth the sweat saturated air; the River is truly a band that gives its all.
By Sara Nowak
Also appeared in The Skinny