Okkervil River @ ASU

People crowd the stage in the warm night.

People crowd the stage in the warm night.

Last night Okkervil River played a free show for Arizona State University students. Getting to see a band voted high on the best new music for free doesn’t get much sweeter.

I only saw the second opening band, a local group called Austin Gibbs — named for the lead singer. Gibbs was plesent enough and a good chillout before the main attraction, but his songs struck me as accutely two-dimensional. Most of them were love-related, cliche songs that really didn’t push the envelope lyrically or musically. Still, it was good to lie in the grass and just bob heads to.

Okkervil River, however, was amazing. This band has garnered a lot of attention from music critics and, while I can’t say I love every song, the live set was great. Their music has a surpising amount of intrumental depth that I never noticed until actually seeing all the intruments.

The crowd enthusiasm added to the experience too. Unlike most free concerts, which tend to attract a mostly apathetic crowd, people showed some real following for the band, belting out lyrics and clapping along through the entire show.

Okkervil River @ ASU

Okkervil River @ ASU

The set was shorter than most concerts — only a bit over an hour for the headliner. But the length seemed fine, and Okkervil played their most recognizable collection. Also, an encore was guarunteed — as my friend pointed out, “you know they’re coming back out; they haven’t used their mandolin yet!”


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