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    Categories: A & EMusic

Okkervil River a Poetic Presence at Urban; Landlady Needs a Strawman

“Can you please stop doing that while I’m talking? It’s really distracting?”

“Ok, I’ll resume when you’re done talking then.”

“I’d rather you just get up on stage over there so I’m not distracted. As a matter of fact, why don’t you get up here now so I can continue talking?”

“No, it’s okay. I’ll just stop shooting.”

“No, really. Get up. Get up.”

The crowd eggs me on to get up on stage so Landlady’s lead singer Adam Schatz doesn’t have to look at me. “You should just stay there for the rest of the show, really,” he says, turning around after their third song. Yes, the David Byrne tribute band (not technically, but might as well have been) from Brooklyn was just three songs in, and a strawman was already needed to keep audiences entertained. There was really no need for it, though, because Shatz did a good job of simulating a thrashing, drug-addled hipster who somehow found his way onto a stage in the middle of a tortured soliloquy.

Anyway, considering I was wobbly from what seemed to be an impending fever, I got some pretty good shots of their backs. And making an example of me seemed to work wonders in getting the rest of the crowd to put away their cell phones – a common scene – for the duration of the set, lest they were up next. Here’s to hoping that this still relatively new band gets the hang of photogs as they perform more gigs.

All this being said and done (that was my review of Landlady, by the way), headliners Okkervil River was worth it. Watching the stagehands set things up was an art piece in itself: a backdrop curtain of an azure sky speckled with birds, fake autumn leaves strewn across the floor and around the mic stands, and little nightstand lamps that gave off a purple glow all worked to signal the arrival of Will Sheff, whose recent “resurrection” a la Away was evident in the jauntiness of his guitar playing – yes, even while singing “Okkervil River R.I.P.”

The ensemble provided a refreshing, low-frills transition. “Mary on a Wave” was an achingly crooning experience, and they regaled old fans with “A Girl in a Port” from seminal 2007 album, The Stage Names. Admittedly, I didn’t stay for the whole set as per my aforementioned wobbliness. Alas, they didn’t play “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe” – and it wasn’t spotted on their setlist – which was a bummer, because that song has a knack of making you feel present every single time.

For more photos of the show, go here.

Charissa Che :Charissa Che hails from NYC and has been a journalist for over 12 years. She is a regular music contributor for Salt Lake Magazine. Additionally, she is a PhD candidate in Writing & Rhetoric at the University of Utah. She prides herself on following the best cat accounts on Instagram. Calicos preferred.