Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Aaron Embry Begins April Residency At Hotel Cafe - April 1, 2014



Tuesday night, April 1, was the first night that Aaron Embry introduced his new material during a bi-weekly residency at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe which will continue throughout the rest of this month. He performed for an audience full of friends and acquaintances in a set that sounded as intimate and comforting as sitting around a fireplace in someone's home. His eagerness to get these songs out there was matched by his wide-eyed shyness about singing lyrics that are even more personal and deeply felt than much that has come before. The small figure on the stage suddenly swamped the place as he sang and sustained a total grip on the audience.

The unabashed delight he takes from singing a line like, simply, "I love you Nikki" to his wife, he explained, becomes a declaration that strengthens their bond each time he says it. Revealing a window into his creative process, he shared stories about each song. Especially touching was the sing-song rhymes and burbling vocals for the song dedicated to daughter, Mayla. It was so personal it felt like eavesdropping.

Accompanying himself on the guitar and harmonica, his voice is still the wondrously flexible instrument it's always been. With, perhaps, a bit more tenderness as these deeply felt songs demand. The thrill of his first public performance of these works was transferred directly from performer to observer as both Aaron and his fans and friends were giddy with delight. Many of the songs deal with his firm grip on his spirituality which informs and comforts his soul and ignites his creativity.

As a finale, he put down his guitar and moved over to the piano for a couple of more familiar song which, nonetheless, were beautifully delivered with a freshness and clarity that made them feel new. On April 15th and 29th, Aaron Embry will be returning to Hotel Cafe to further develop the live performances of this material and I expect to be there every step of the way.

whrabbit

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lost In The Trees at The Echo - March 20, 2014

 


I always end up being unexpectedly overwhelmed by Lost In The Trees every time I see them. Thursday night, March 20, at The Echo proved to be no exception. Touring for the first time as a stripped down combo, departing from the large orchestral make up of the band before, they look more like a rock band now. It's an interesting direction for them to take, with no loss whatsoever on the impact they have on stage.

And this new ensemble is what makes their new album, Past Life, such a surprising departure from their previous releases. I'll have to admit, I was surprised at the crowd that pushed their way to the front as the band came on stage, with an urgency usually reserved for big, popular bands. Their audiences usually remind me of the studious and academic audience you would see at an Andrew Bird or Okkervil River concert. They now have an expanding fan base, probably from the heavy radio play of  Past Life. This makes me very happy as they have always deserved more acclaim.

Starting off with a couple of songs from the new album, I got used to the new sound coming from the new configuration of the band. Unfortunately, from where I stood, the vocals were lacking in the sound mix during "Excos" which has subtle vocals to begin with, so I began moving around the crowded room to try to find a better sounding spot. I wasn't sure whether it was my geographical adjustment or else they had fixed the sound, but from then on the mix was perfect.

The title song, "Past Life", was next and represented precisely and flawlessly revealing the newer, almost upbeat, attitude that permeates most of the album. With many of the formerly orchestral passages replaced by funky dance beats and some prerecorded backgrounds, it surprised me to hear that it is so effective and engaging...and powerful in a live setting.


"Neither Here Nor There" from A Church To Fit Our Needs came next and was brilliantly rearranged for a five piece band sounding every bit as complex and dense as the fully orchestrated version. That took me by surprise and I realized then that his was going to be an astonishing show. From that moment on it all became a blur of new and old material, all performed for maximum impact, and lifting me higher and higher.

The new songs are no less deep, thoughtful or penetrating than their predecessors, it's just more dancey. Most of the new album was played, mixed in with some material pulled from their first two releases.All the piercing power of Ari Picker's sweet voice is here, and more, as he appears more vocally relaxed than ever. The clear, high, ethereal soprano of Emma Nadeau, a defining characteristic of Lost In The Trees since the beginning, provides the important counterpoint and is as vital to this new ensemble as ever. I have to admit the new album hadn't had time to make a big impression on me as I only bought it Tuesday. But, as has happened to me many times, to hear it live raised it way, way up in my estimation. It's a gorgeous and serious work of great inspiration and beauty. It just goes to show you, the time to make up your mind about an album...is never. That gets truer as I get older.

The whole show was startlingly unconventional in it's stage lighting, going for stark and jarring changes that were both fueled by the music and intense in their bold contrast. The background was frequently lit up by a white light version of the Past Life album art, which would blanch out Ari's face like a headlight in the night. He asked for his mic to be upped during the song "Rites" where his writing really gets to shine; "and every harm, every violent moment, all of our faults aside, drift through rooms of white light." Stunning. The whole set sped by and I was left reeling from it, vibrating the whole next day.

whrabbit
photos too

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Starting the New Year Right, Part 2

After all that fun at the FOMO Fest, I was well primed for my own show on Saturday, January 4th at Lot 1. I was able to enlist the help of Rebecca Balin in booking the show, and she got all the talent to sign on, so this whole evening was very much thanks to her.

Two of the acts I knew by reputation, for both Charlie Clark and Meredith Meyer have substantial followings. Jill Avilez is a talent I had witnessed first hand when she dazzled me with one of her bands, The Love Absurd (she plays in five) last year when they played at my show in June.

Opening act was Teena May who, with her straightforward candor and raw emotion, simply and completely "blew the roof off the place". She brought in her own large following and it was easy to see why. A part-time New Yorker, her songs have a sophistication and intelligence that are characteristic of many East Coast artists. Even reminding me of the early and challenging confessional work of Laura Nyro that I enjoyed as a teenager - like exposed raw nerves, along with the definitive jazz influence. She calls her songs 'stories' and indeed, they have a definite narrative flow, but with the maturity to turn personal pain into triumphant art.

Accompanying herself on guitar, she has a gorgeously strong and expressive voice which she handles like a complex instrument. Joking about how some have told her to temper her broken relationship songs with some lighter fare between the romantic rants, she had a nicely modulated sets with some positively uptempo numbers here and there.

Because she had struck up a conversation before her set with Runson Willis, the multi-faceted musician I met last year when he played my show in Dec. '12, she invited him onstage to join her with his harmonica for a couple of songs. Uncanny how well he fit into her songs, it was truly inspirational to see two accomplished artists make an instant musical connection that sounded like they have been playing together all along.

After the excitement of the first set, we were able to wind down with an intimate set by Meredith Meyer, and she and her guitar enchanted with perfectly crafted folk/pop songs that build on the tradition of the great female singer/songwriters who came to prominence in the late sixties/early seventies, from Joni Mitchell to Melanie to Bonnie Raitt to Stevie Nicks, etc. She seems to have an uncanny talent to compose catchy tunes that never sound derivative and she presents them with a refreshingly unflashy vocal style.

Personal stories were turning out to be a theme of the evening and the cool, calm, almost stately demeanor of Ms. Meyer offered a wonderful contrast to the previous performer's emotion. She has a steady and confident presence and, though petite in stature, she filled Lot 1 with the soft, melodious sound of her reflective and specific songs. The lyrics sound autobiographical in their attention to detail and the exactness of the references to real life. She even has written a song called "Storyteller Girl". That's an apt description.

Headliner Charlie Clark was next, and even without a full band, the man from Glasgow, with just one accompanist, who added wonderful harmonies as well as playing the harmonium on a couple of songs, presented a well rounded set that incorporated songs from his impressive catalog, as well as a tune that (he said) he had just written that afternoon. His music is a happy collaboration of American roots music and the ancient tradition of early European folk songs. Also a storyteller, he sings song about growing up in Scotland and about living in America with a yearning nostalgia that I found touching.

He told a familiar story I could relate to about growing up in a picturesque and idyllic pastoral location, but filled with people he couldn't wait to get away from. Afterward, he and I talked about how I empathized with the childhood spent in a kind of environmental paradise (in my case a seacoast town near Cape Cod) and the ever-gnawing need to get the fuck away. I mean, there was no where to go but OUT. So his song reflect a kind of restless desire for growth and new experiences, cogently told. I look forward to hearing him play with his full band.

And finally Jill Avilez took the stage to shake the very foundations of Lot 1 with a sultry, sexy and sly solo performance that made the hair on the back of you neck stand straight up. Armed with her tall upright double bass violin, which she strokes and strummed and plucked and slapped, she lets her heroic voice steer the songs. Ironic humor laces her lyrics which are already wry takes on life, love and other things, and which are complimented by the swaggering personality of the singer. She can purr and coo or let loose with a piecing bellow that keeps you on the edge of your seat (if one were sitting).

It was a swinging and seductive set that the audience just ate up. Teena May came back in and became an enthusiastic supporter on the spot. Admitting to me later that she had been nervous about playing solo, Jill must have found the overwhelming appreciation of the people who had stayed enough to assuage that fear. It was a hair raising ending to the night. I'm looking forward to booking her four other bands this year.

Of all the Feed Your Head shows I've done (and that's now over 30) this was one of my favorites. A big thanks to Rebecca Balin for the line up and huge gratitude to the wonderful performers who gave so much for us to enjoy. And thanks to Eileen and Jason for their hospitality, as always. And Sean Guerin for sound duties, always the best.

whrabbit

Monday, January 6, 2014

Starting the New Year Right, Part 1


I've apparently made an unconscious New Year's resolution to dive in head first and get out to more shows this year. Apropos to this revelation I went out last Friday night to see the fabulous FOMO Festival 2014 taking place at The Echo and Echoplex. 'FOMO' stands for Fear Of Missing Out, and this also fit in with my desire to catch up with the numerous recently sprouted bands that have cropped up over the past couple of years that I have been missing out on.

One of the main attractions was Avid Dancer, who I HAVE seen a few times already, but as they are making incredible strides with each performance, it's worthwhile to check in with them every few weeks.

Quite a large crowd was gathered at the entrance to the upstairs/downstairs club when I got there around 9:40, and once I got in, Kera and the Lesbians was holding the whole Echo audience in the palm of their hands. This is a band whose lead singer, Kera Armendariz, is a ball of pure energy, and whose impressive guitar and voice punctuates the music with a fierce and electric stage personality. Part funk and all rock, this band has talent to spare and there wasn't a soft spot in the portion of the set I got to witness. They are unique and memorable.

Knowing that there was no way to enjoy all the bands performing that evening, I opted to focus on particular sets. Next up was Lo-Fang, downstairs in the Echoplex. But before they took the stage there was a spoken word artist named John Tottenham, who recited some wonderful and bizarre pieces that hovered close to the edge of tasteless, but were so truthful and highly humorous that it was just kind of wonderful.

Matthew Hemerlein is the mastermind behind the band Lo-Fang. With a voice that sounds classically trained and an equally adept talent for the violin and guitar, he commands full attention because you don't want to miss one note of his beautifully complex compositions. Accompanied by a keyboardist and drummer and occasional pre-recordings, the three build gorgeous, swirling arrangements that easily move from synthy/dreamy/dance music to a classically structured adagio for strings, all tethered to Matthew's phenomenal voice which never sounds forced or over done. I was totally blown away.

They were a tough act to follow, but Avid Dancer was up to the challenge...and then some. Jacob Dillan Summers has fashioned music that recalls the best of sixties pop and tangled it up with melodious contemporary indie rock and the result is magic in the ears. The songs shimmer and shine with a hazy psychedelic ambiance as he discusses love, life, hope, disappointment, and trying to fill prescriptions.


I've known Jacob for a while now and had enjoyed his former band, The Rhone Occupation, but here he leaps to a whole other level. And each time I see them there is marked improvement, even though each time I was convinced they were at the top of their game. Where they go from here is anyone's guess.

Final band, Fever The Ghost, came on around midnight and sounded like a shot of adrenaline, but I had to get home to have energy for my Feed Your Head show the next night, so I couldn't stay. But they have a date at Bootleg Bar next Thursday, January 16th, on a bill with Nightmare and the Cat, Carina Round and The Peach Kings, so there's hope. That sounds like a great show.

Part 2 coming soon...

whrabbit

Friday, December 6, 2013

Feed Your Head at Lot 1 December 7, 2013

 
 


I've got an amazing show for you on Saturday night, Dec. 7 at Lot 1. Three wonderful bands and a storyteller artist to open the evening at nine. There's a lot of shows out there on Saturday, but I like to think this one has the edge.
Last month I was putting together a program of singer/songwriter/storytellers and since Scott Schultz is back in town, I wanted to feature him. We had become friends a few years ago, before he moved  back to Boston to pursue his spoken art career, and I wanted to see what this was all about. So I booked him. He's back for a second gig this week and will be breaking out some new work. The stories are based on real life and filled with a wry, humorous viewpoint that takes the ordinary and makes it seem deeply disturbed. My kind of irony.

Alright Alright are the first band (at 10) and they played for me last December, maybe this can become a holiday tradition, the first Saturday of every December at Lot 1, from here to eternity. Dazzled by their multi-storied musically upbeat structures and commanded by a bunch of mighty powerful singers, I became a fan on the spot. This will also be the  release party for their beautiful new EP, Radio. and they will give the evening an appropriate musical blast off. Power pop with amazing hooks and wonderful melodies.

The Black Heartthrobs have the 11 o'clock spot and will bring an energy and a Kink-like spirit with a garage indie rock sound to rouse the audience. Their edgy, propulsive music has a spontaneous feel, yet follows very clear lines and will keep the place hopping. It's the perfect noisy rock to separate the other bands, each of whom represent different aspects of the indie rock world as we journey from power to punk to prog.

A couple of weeks ago I went to The Viper Room to check out a show Rebecca Balin was putting on. I sampled some of the songs of a band called Wages on line and was quite impressed and made sure I was there for their early set. I was stunned by the breadth and range of their talent. For only a three-piece band they filled the room with melodious sound. Check out the fabulous video that Bronson posted over at BuzzbandsLA, then come on down and hear it live at midnight. Their music has the discipline of Pinback, yet the adventurous quality of prog rock. I can't wait to see them for the second time.

whrabbit

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Arcade Fire at Hollywood Palladium October 31, 2013


I couldn't believe I was going to get to see Arcade Fire for the sixth time. I knew they were in town celebrating the release of Reflektor, their fourth studio album, but the shows were difficult, if not impossible, to get into. I wasn't able to jump through the hoops required to get into the Capital Records rooftop show on Monday, October 28th, (photo below by Philip Cosores for Stereogum) or the "Music Experiment" show on Tuesday, so when they announced the Halloween night concert at Hollywood Palladium with tickets to go on sale to the general public (me) on Saturday, October 26 at noon, I sat there by my laptop with a cup of coffee, ready to jump.


From the very first try, the ticket sales website said, "Sorry, nothing matches your search criteria." As I repeatedly got the "sorry..." message I was cursing the bastards who had pre-ordered the album and been allowed to pre-buy the concert tickets the day before. Then the light bulb in my head went off and I thought, "why not try the telephone and see if any tickets have been siphoned off for phone sales." That's what I did before I had the laptop, and nobody uses the phone anymore. Eureka! Within three minutes I had my ticket.

My next assignment was to buy the album on Tuesday when it was released and listen to it repeatedly for two days until the songs were burned into my brain (downloaded into my subconscious). If I hated the album, I would still go to the show looking to hear old songs.

I have to say, on the first listening, Reflektor wasn't what I expected. As one dance song followed another, and another, I wondered if some variety had been lost. Then the second disk sounded unlike the first disk with a variety of styles that struck me as odd. This all is to illustrate how WRONG first impressions can be. Over the next two days some of the songs really began to get a grip on me and I soon found myself really admiring the thunderous production values.

By the time I got to the Palladium to stand in line I still had my ear buds in my head, pouring all the new songs into that part of my brain that stores all my music. Arriving just an hour and a half before the 8 o'clock door time, I was shocked to get so close to the front of the line, having anticipated a mass of people who had been there since noon.

It didn't take long for the mob of costumed concertgoers to close in behind me. Goblins, ghouls, the walking dead, dandies, hookers and a lot sporting as many reflective surfaces as they could sew onto their jackets and dresses. Many people simply wore CDs all over their clothes. Production people circulated among us and picked out some of the most reflective costumes to pull out of the line for some other purpose.

That purpose became clear when a Mariachi band started up with a blare of trumpets and the giant paper mache heads used in the "Reflektor" video began dancing at the head of the line as a camera crew filmed the entire thing (with our friends in the reflective costumes used as a backdrop). I'm assuming that it was indeed Arcade Fire who were wearing the masks and dancing to the Mariachis. While I can't confirm that, here is a picture (above) from where I was standing.

The Hollywood Palladium was all decked out in Halloween regalia from the front entrance all the way to the giant dance floor. Tombstones, cob webs, ghosts and collapsed skeletons adorned the walls, floor and ceiling. I grabbed a beer and headed into the huge auditorium as the crowd slowly filled every available space. As the crowd waited, R&B and soul music pumped up the already excited audience with high anticipation until Arcade Fire (disguised as The Reflektors in various costumes, and Win Butler wearing one of the giant heads) took to the stage accompanied by the deafening scream of ghoulish fans.

Blasting into the title tune from the new album, the whole room seemed to move as one giant undulating organism to the hypnotic dance beat. For once, the bass-heavy sound in the Palladium was perfectly suited to the music coming from the stage. The intoxicating thump of that song coupled with the anthem-like refrains and wall-of-sound orchestrations got the room into a frenzied high right off the bat. From that moment on no one was able to resist and we rose collectively off the floor, not to return for an hour and a half.

Next, without taking a breath, they dipped back into their repertoire for the first of only a handful of older songs they included in the set to blast us with a thunderingly aggressive version of "Neighborhood # 3 (Lights Out)". After the audience shouted out the lyrics along with the band, I was thrilled that they returned to the new songs for the bulk of the night, leaving the sing-a-long crowd stranded and forced to listen.

"Flashbulb Eyes" brought the tempo down a little as it qualifies as one of the albums less bombastic songs dipping into reggae territory and featuring twangy '60s surf guitars. It was a temporary respite as they then played a series of progressively more elaborately orchestrated songs that had the audience in a state of ever more collective euphoria.

"Joan of Arc" is a pulsating song with a throbbing bass line and continues Reflektors thematic analysis of fame with the telling line, "First they love you, then they kill you, then they love you again". Lasers cut through the auditorium, sweeping the audience, as the band hit their stride and Regine Chassagne's voice emerged through the noise with her atmospheric "oooohs and aaaahs." "You Already Know" provided an up tempo jolt with its funky beat and its clean melodic lines. When "We Exist" followed, the cumulative energy kept building until a big disco ball propelled everything into a gigantic swirl of lights, movement and music, with everyone bouncing along together as the band smashed through all the ever expanding orchestral and vocal gymnastics of this amazing song.

I was enjoying the hell out of the show from where I was on the floor, but, truth be told, when you're buried in the middle of a huge crowd like this one at The Palladium you're lucky to catch occasional glimpses of the tops of the musicians heads. The venue might be better off with a more graded floor or a higher stage. So I decided to wander for the rest of the show and catch it from all different angles.

I was up in the balcony for "It's Never Over" which has such an aggressive beat that I could look down on the writhing mass of revellers, and enjoy the light show that consisted of colored beams of lasers dappling the room and the mirror ball still pushing everything into a circular motion. I've rarely seen a happier audience. I stepped outside upstairs to get a shot of the parking lot where we had waited for an hour and a half and where the Mariachi band had entertained us earlier (below).

With the exception of "Headlights Look Like Diamonds" from their 2005 EP, a cover of Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge" and the encores, the rest of the set was all new songs, "Normal Person" and "Here Comes The Night Time" stood out, and it was really the key to helping me realize just how great Reflektor is, after all the hype."Here Comes The Night" had a particularly spectacular presentation with confetti fired from either side of the room filling the air with glistening shards that acted as reflectors.

I am confused by reviewers who say "it's just dance music." We'll, excuse me, but Arcade Fire has always been a dance band. Thank God everyone stood up for the two Shrine shows two years ago, because I would never been able to stay in my seat. The teaming up of the band with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem to produce the new album, pushed the band to explore a wider variety of dance oriented music that they have before and the result is an album full of surprises, including some that take some time to get used to. But the effort is well worth it as you'll discover one of the year's best albums.

Coming back on stage from a short break they performed two audience favorites as encores (and two of heir best songs) to finish off this incredible night and give Regine the chance to overwhelm us with her lead vocals. First "Haiti", for which she wore two giant pink foam gloves so that, even at the back of the room (where I was by now), everyone could enjoy her wonderfully evocative hand movements, which, to me, have always been a highlight of their shows.

And they save one of the best for last, "Sprawl II" from The Suburbs, which was such a stand out on their last tour, and it was again here. Regine even picked up the colored streamers she always used to accentuate her dancing and prancing all over the stage, taking command and holding the audience in the palm of her hand. I was like putty. We all were. It was a supreme ending to a superb show.

Limp from exhaustion and exaltation, we all tumbled out of Hollywood Palladium onto the ghoul, witch and Halloween crowded streets of Hollywood itself. The whole world seemed suspended in a weird time-warp, where the environment inside the concert hall and the environment outside on the streets were one in the same. After a night like this I wonder, "Is there anywhere better to be?" It took more than a few days to come back down to Earth.

whrabbit

Friday, October 25, 2013

Okkervil River at The WIltern - October 20, 2013


(first published at Radio Free Silver Lake 10/23/13)

Every time I see Okkervil River I feel I've gotten to know Will Sheff a little better. The intensity and depth of his lyrics reveal so much about himself it makes his live concerts seem an act of bold daring by an artist unafraid of the fallout such revelations could incur. Only a few performers I've ever seen get away with this successfully. The show on Sunday night, October 19, was just such an occasion. The new album, The Silver Gymnasium, is the most blatantly autobiographical of all his releases, dealing specifically with his childhood in New Hampshire, and it made this performance cathartic for both the performer and the audience.

Sitting in a nearly empty Wiltern Theatre (I wanted to get into the pit so I got there before the door opened at 7) I was surprised there was nobody there yet. But then my thoughts on who should be popular and who actually is popular are almost never in sync. As a fan of Okkervil River for a while now, I'm always amazed all over again at just how compelling a band they are, and yet almost nobody I know follows them. It seems incredible.


Opening band was Matthew E. White (at left) from Virginia and, apart from some very enjoyable roots rock and roll with his five-piece band, flavored with some sonically explosive passages, I really enjoyed his between-song talk about how his East Coast prejudices about Los Angeles have come crashing down now that he's on his third trip to our sun-drenched shores. They've played The Troubadour, The Hollywood Bowl and now The Wiltern, and the warm enthusiasm of the audience seduced Matthew into revealing that he and his band have fallen under the spell of Southern California. I can relate, having overcome the same prejudices in myself, albeit over 30 years ago.

They appeared to genuinely enjoy playing their set and that enthusiasm transferred to the audience. The music was meticulously arranged for his talented band and covered a wide spectrum of styles, all highlighted by Matthew's strong and steady vocals. With his obvious talent for music arrangement, he has collaborated with some musicians I admire very much, like Sharon Van Etten and The Mountain Goats. Their 35 minute set was a definite crowd pleaser.

With a blast of orchestral music, the stage remained dark except for the blue glow of their illuminated backdrop until, a couple of minutes later, the seven members of Okkervil River strode onstage and launched into the first two songs off the new album, "It Was My Season" and "On a Balcony", these were exactly the songs I wanted to hear. Instead of continuing onto the album's third cut, "Down Down The Deep River"(which may be one of their greatest songs), they zapped back to the 2004 release, Black Sheep Boy for "Black" and "For Real" and invested those two numbers with a new passion and energy.

Beyond that the set list comprised a greatest hits package of some of their best songs. I thought it was all their best material until I went home and looked at the albums and realized there were over a dozen other great songs they didn't play. Among the highlights were the opening tracks off The Stage Names, "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" and I Am Very Far, ""The Valley". Standing still was not an option. Obvious was the adulation of some of their fans, as some of the older numbers instigated a couple of "shout-back-the-lyrics" moments, which don't tend to thrill me. I always prefer hearing the new material which fortunately the audience doesn't yet know well enough.

Will Sheff (left) writes some of the brainiest rock and roll around and wraps it up in extraordinary song craft surrounded by a bunch of gifted musicians and they deliver one knock out song after another. Among my favorites were a rousing version of "Rider", "Lido Pier Suicide Car", and the evocative."Stay Young". "No Key, No Plan" from the Black Sheep Boy extended album done acoustic, was a real highlight featuring some dynamic duet singing. It may be the most beautiful song I've heard live in a long while. (below)

When they did "Down Down The Deep River" the crowd went wild, it is such a catchy song with one of my favorite lyrics: "It's not alright, it's not even close to alright". This is my favorite song at the moment and it was a real thrill to hear it live. Like they know how good it is. The rest of the band of multi-instrumentalists, one guy plays trombone, trumpet, violin and guitar, left me stunned and so many of them sing that you realize their albums don't need to rely on any backing tracks. Very impressive! Okkervil River played for close to two hours and it was a perfectly rounded out set that has left me buzzing for days.

whrabbit
photos: Brad Roberts