Okkervil River brought their Texas blend of indie folk rock to the Vic Theater in Chicago last night, and did not disappoint. Lead singer Will Sheff showed off his tremendous stage presence, seemingly casting a spell over the audience. Never before have I seen an artist command silence from a crowd the way he did.
Formed in 1998, the band has steadily risen to become one of the standards of indie folk rock. The collective, which ebbs and grows, featured their original drummer, Seth Warren-Crow, and like all proper indie bands these days, a female presence, with Lauren Gurgilolo burning away notes on electric guitar. Highlights of the night included their perennial hit “Our Life Is Not A Movie But Maybe,” and their ode to the Beach Boy’s “Sloop John B,” “John Allyn Smith Sails.”
Okkervil is the type of band a casual blog reader may pass over, or stroll past at a festival, but next time the opportunity presents itself: stop and listen. Once you’ve witnessed them live, their entire catalogue will become illuminated.