It’s interesting to observe the lanky, bearded and bespectacled front-man of Okkervil Rivver Will Sheff as a near two hour set progresses. He strides on to the stage dressed suavely in a smart tan suit. A handful of songs into a set which was heavy with tracks from the band’s latest album I Am Very Far and punctuated songs from an impressive back catalogue, the suit jacket was shed. Before long the waistcoat went and, when things got really sweaty, the glasses were removed too. By the time the thumping encore came the suave man in a suit had become a sweat-soaked man in a t-shirt.
The trouble with playing a gig in a venue which becomes a club at night is that curfews tend to restrict the set to a 10pm finish, otherwise you get the impression that Okkervil River could comfortably have played at least another half an hour. As a result what they produced was a high energy set where the songs kept coming at a searing pace, to the delight of an appreciative audience.
The set built towards a climactic conclusion with Unless It’s Kicks coming off a performance which borrowed from areas of the band’s past as diverse as 2003’s It Ends With a Fall, the even earlier Westfall – which saw Will Sheff dust down the harmonica – and more recent favourites Lost Coastlines, Rider and Your Past Life as a Blast.
A thoroughly enjoyable night with a band who know how to entertain.