Okkervil River are not an Australian band. We’re writing about them because we realise that a major part of the musical experience in Australia is waiting for a smaller scale international act to make their way to our shores. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, boy is it exciting.
A staple of the literate indie music scene, Okkervil River garnered international attention around the same time (but not scale) as artsy-fartsy proto-hipsters were enjoying Arcade Fire’s debut, The National’s Alligator, Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, et cetera. Interestingly, Okkervil River have swum the same course as their aforementioned indie-folk counterparts, recently releasing The Silver Gymnasium – album that was a major departure from our expectations, eerily similar to both Reflektor and Age of Adz.
Last time the Texans were on our shores, they played the Metro Theatre to a relatively small crowd. Tonight, the group have downsized their Sydney show to the Oxford Art Factory and if their previous shows are anything to go by, expect a healthy dose of Stage Names, Stand Ins and Black Sheep Boy. Oh, and make sure you remember the words to “John Allyn Smith Sails”.
In support is Sydney’s Ernest Ellis and the Panamas, who are well on their way to releasing a third album of alt. folk / unironic contemporary pop delights. It’s calming music for rainy days, and their thoroughly modern sound makes them a perfect support slot for a band touring an album like The Silver Gymnasium.
Okkervil River will be appearing tonight (21 Jan) at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney and tomorrow night (22 Feb) at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne. Tix aren’t cheap, at a bit more than $50 a pop, but hey – it’s Okkervil freakin River. If you’re heaps strapped and can’t afford it, then click below for the next best thing – The Silver Gymnasium: The Game.
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