I go through phases of listening to albums quite obsessively. A current obsession is Black Sheep Boy by the Austin-based Okkervil River – I’m a sucker for the novelistic scope of their lyrics and I’ve been aching to see them play live for a while now.
I got that opportunity on Monday when they played Cargo in London. The Gin Soaked Boy and I went along, though I suspect they’re more my thing than his – they have this literary quality that, perhaps predictably, appeals to me hugely.
They didn’t quite live up to my expectations, the intricacy of the songs got lost a little bit in a live setting, but there was an endearing, rough around the edges energy to their performance. I could however have done without the sub-Couplandian spoken interlude that frontman Will Sheff crow-barred into the proceedings. Still they played A Stone, which is one of my favourites, a quite beautiful piece of song-writing. I read a review somewhere that described these songs as “stories of people trying to find out if they need each other,” and that, I think, sums them up more eloquently than I could have.
We didn’t stay until the end, which is a shame as I’d quite like to have seen how they brought things to a finish, but the Gin Soaked Boy was practically asleep on his feet and I’m less keen on waiting around for the last train now that I’m 9-to-5ing it again.
My rather ponderous review of Black Sheep Boy is on display in the usual place but, fear not, I shan't repeat it here.