It was a pretty nasty night outside, but whoever fought the rain to get to the Music Hall of Williamsburg would agree that last nights show was worth the trek. Will Sheff and his friends put on a show filled with good vibes and quality music. It was a night of both newly discovered talent and classic sing a longs.
[Beth Wawerna of Bird Of Youth]
Bird of Youth kicked off the show with a solid set of early 90s-inspired rock with a pinch of dusty Americana thrown in. They were a little bit Mazzy Star, a little bit Cat Power, but still a tightly orchestrated band that definitely knew how to craft a solid pop song in their own unique way. I look forward to hearing their debut album, which Will Sheff happens to be producing.
Following Bird of Youth was solo artist Charles Bissell (of the Wrens and now Okkervil River), who put on a pretty amazing show for being the only person on the stage. He was a master of the loop pedal layering guitar riffs on one another creating a bed of dissonance to envelope his Elliott Smith-esque lyrical delivery. He created such a distinctive mood with his loops that he added such a personal touch to a cover of an Okkervil River song that Will Sheff became a fan. This mutual respect spawned the two song 7" in which they covered each others songs.
Last but not least Will Sheff took the stage for a solid hour and a half performance of stripped down Okkervil River songs that spanned their full library. It was an intimate show that really put the spotlight on Will’s lyrics, thus creating a completely different experience. The audience was able to bask in the long-winded poetic brilliance of his songs taking in every verse from classics such as “Red”, “Happy Heart” and “Plus Ones”, creating more of an emotional depth to the songs. Other highlights of the show included “Bruce Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel”, which is a song stuck at the end of their recent release Stand Ins, that I frequently pass over, but performed in such an intimate setting took on a whole new feel that was completely riveting.
Charles Bissell added his atmospheric dissonant touch to “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe” which they slowed down the tempo to and completely created a distinctive new piece of work from the song. Bird of Youth’s lead singer Beth Wawerna joined him onstage to perform the beautiful ballad from Black Sheep Boy, “Get Big” which was definitely was pinnacle of the performance.
All in all it was a great show that held my interest throughout the whole night. Will surrounds himself with some talented individuals who, along with himself, I look forward hearing more from.