Austin City Limits Taping – Okkervil River

ACL Okkervil River Program

ACL Okkervil River Program

The past year for Okkervil River has been full of some pretty big milestones. They released their latest album The Stand Ins only a few weeks before playing the Austin City Limits Festival last September. They played The Late Show with David Letterman this past January and were at both the Coachella and Bonnaroo (where they apparently “killed”) festivals this summer. Their latest achievement is an Austin City Limits taping last night for Season 35 to air later this year.

I’ve heard a lot about the band (pronounced “awk”-ervil not “oak”-ervil as ACL producer Terry Lickona did introducing them last night) over the past few years both in the media and from friends. Their sound is somewhere between folk and pop and they’re often lumped in with bands like The Decemberists and Arcade Fire. It was a decidedly local crowd last night. We ended up sitting next to bassist Patrick Pestorious’s mother and father. Jonathan Meiberg, former Okkervil member who left to focus on his band Shearwater which started out as a side project for both he and Okkervil frontman Will Sheff, was on hand for “Lost Coastlines”, a songn they had to do twice for the taping due to some mistakes in the first attempt. They also added a horn section and a string section to the normal 6 member line-up. Okkervil River have backed Roky Erickson, another local performer and recent Austin City Limits artist, and are slated to go into the studio with him later this year.

I wasn’t able to get the song list before posting this, but I’ll update with it later. In addition to “Lost Coastlines”, they definitely played “For Real”, “Our List is Not a Movie (Or Maybe)”, “The War Criminal Rises and Speaks”, “John Allyn Smith Sails” with its segue into The Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B.” and “Unless It Kicks”. You can find mp3s for a few of these songs linked from Ultra8201’s spotlight post prior to their ACL 2008 appearance. They’re pretty catchy. I can’t get a couple of them out of my head as I write this.

Update – here’s the official set list via a pic from one of the producers:

  1. “A Girl In Port”
  2. “A Hand To Take Hold of the Scene”
  3. “The Latest Toughs”
  4. “Starry Stairs”
  5. “A King and a Queen”
  6. “The War Criminal Rises and Speaks”
  7. “John Allyn Smith”
  8. “A Stone”
  9. “So Come Back, I Am Waiting”
  10. “Lost Coastlines”
  11. “Our Life Is Not a Movie…”
  12. “Unless It’s Kicks”
  13. “For Real” (Encore)

The Season 35 line up is pretty impressive. Once again this year, the ACL Festival is drawing in several bands for tapings, including Dave Matthews Band, Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth. There’s an encore presentation of the Bettye LaVette and Pinetop Perkins show tomorrow night. I saw that one live last year and it’s not to be missed. LaVette and her backing band are amazing. Since that taping, LaVette has received accolades for her performance of a Who cover at the Kennedy Honors and for her rendition of “Change is Gonna Come” at the Presidential Inauguration this year. She recently released a six song EP with that track on Anti Records. It’s available for $5.94 on iTunes.

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