08 October 2008

Okkervil River @ Webster Hall, NY, October 7, 2008

I have been trying to see Okkervil River for years, literally years. But every attempt has been thwarted by bad scheduling, too much homework and other such lame excuses. BUT, last night compensated in every single conceivable way. And it started with a cat.
I got to the venue nearly an hour before doors opened, but this adorable black cat, lets call him Linguine (because he looks like he must be related to Spaghetti Cat), had already beaten me to being first on line. I'm assuming the cat wasn't a stray because it was immaculately groomed with a shiny, shiny coat and wasn't the least bit skittish. In fact we even cuddled and everyone assumed it was mine. We bonded. Nevermind what they say about black cats bringing bad luck, Linguine was a most auspicious start of the night. OK, OK, so now on to the actual show. IT ROCKED! Will Sheff dripped sweat and spit and being in the front row, I reveled in it. Never, never have I seen a band pour that much of themselves, quite literally on stage. AND they continued for more than two hours playing song after song after song. Howling in hysterics, so shambolically melodic!

But here's where the win comes in, the literal win. Every night on their current tour, Okkervil's raffling off a one-of-a-kind brand new song. In order to enter, all you have to do is buy a sticker (a really pretty sticker!) and all the proceeds go towards reducing carbon emissions while they tour. Great cause, great sticker, chance to win a great new song for only $2 - count me in, I'm feeling lucky!

So during the encore Will reaches into a cup and draws a number, lucky 153, and get this...I WIN. I shriek! I'm standing in the front row and jump up and down getting Will's attention. He shakes my hand and tells me to go to the merch table after the show to pick up my newly recorded song on CD. WIN!

Sooo I head back to the merch table still reeling filled with soaring music and winning awe, Kelly, their super-sweet merch lady informs me she still hasn't received the freshly recorded CD and I should just hold tight. Someone should deliver it shortly. I hang around for about 15 minutes. No CD still, so Kelly texts Will himself. By this point the merch table's beginning to get packed up and I'm getting impatient.

Then Okkervil's manager lady swings by and tells me to follow her upstairs to Webster Hall's VIP section and wait with her. Getting access to an area where I'd normally be denied is making me feel very important. Then Will himself, who might I add is THE SEX with his perfectly shaggy hair and tight, sweaty t-shirt hands me the CD and apologizes for making me wait. We hug. TWICE! (My enthusiam is akin to the that of Art Brut's "Good Weekend"). I gawk. A lot. And tell him how I've been meaning to see him forever. And I stare. I stare. A lot at his gleaming eyes and humble smile. I swear he probably thinks I'm autistic. Time to use my favorite verb: Swoon. Here's the note that Will wrote that accompanied the CD:

And as for the song, well yeah of course it's great. And all mine. But not to fear faithful readers, as soon as their tour is up I will post it for you all to hear. (or actually maybe not because the band really doesn't want this song leaking and I totally respect that) But in the meantime, try and win a copy yourself. This one's for my ears only!

But here are other great songs by Okkervil. And if you haven't already, please buy The Stand Ins. Linguine implores you!

Okkervil River - Singer-Songwriter.mp3
Okkervil River - The Latest Toughs.mp3


Anonymous said...

I would be happy for you if I wasn't still pissed at how you just showed up and pushed your way to the stage in front of me.

Jess said...

um fyi, I was one of the first people in the venue that night. I went to the bathroom between opening sets though and "pushed" my way back to my original spot. sorry if it appeared as if i "just showed up" but I swear I didn't.

thom said...

having been to multiple shows with jess, i can vouch for the fact that she, like me, arrives absurdly early for shows.

great post, and i'm so happy you got to see them finally! they never put less than 100% into their shows, at least not any time i've seen them. i only wish that they had either hit philly this tour, or played ny on a weekend, so i could have caught them again...

Dani said...

wow that is awesome!
i'm extremely jealous of you, would absolutely LOVE to meet Will Sheff :D
sounds like you had a pretty good night!

Gary said...

Hey Jess..got the link to your blog from Thom on the OR forums. Congrats!

I got the CD the first show and the one last night in Northampton. I have different intros on mine. Just curious who did the intro for your copy. Justin did the first one and Travis did the second one.

Does yours have the same apology at the end?


Jess said...

hey gary,

wow you won twice, congrats you lucky duck!

justin does the intro on mine. and if by apology you mean will saying at the end "that song is such a downer" then yep! what does he say at the end of your versions?

Gary said...

On both of my copies he says:

"I'm sorry that free song was such a downer"

They sound identical too...so I wonder if he just recorded that line and tacked it on to the end of both of my copies.

My intro from Justin says:

"Hey uh this is Justin enjoy this uh original uh mix of an okkervil river song, Congratulations"

Now I"m curious if yours says the same thing. I'm going to post pictures of my hand made covers tonight or tomorrow over on the Okkervil forums in the thread "Interesting..."

Jess said...

YES! that is the exact same intro on mine, so i'm assuming that part is pre-recorded. possibly the same with the ending too.

I'll be sure to check out the covers of yours as well. Mine was just wrapped in the note Will wrote as he handed it to me. He literally rushed off stage and burned it after the show. He told "I knew there was something I forgot to do before the show!", which was pretty adorable.

suzanne78704 said...

You are a lucky duck...congrats...wish they were doing that at the Austin and New Orleans shows I attended...I am suspicious of Gary's "winning." But he does so much on the OR board that they probably just gave him two, and deservedly so!

Rockstar Aimz said...

Holy Shit! Great Story! I hope I am the winner on Sunday in Toronto. I've seen them three times and they never disappoint. Top five live band for sure.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on winning the raffle! I saw them on the 6th and they were mind-blowingly good. Here's the weird thing: either that night or the next one I think I saw THAT SAME CAT near my apartment in the Lower East Side. Random stray cats don't really exist in the East Village. So I think this is some kind of omen or maybe the Familiar of one of the band members!

Gary said...

Yeah...I wish I got something, anything, for free for doing the board...Just hasn't been the case. I've done everything I do for free...in fact I don't even really talk to the band...at all. I realize you were probably joking but I definitely didn't receive any special treatment.

ORThey? said...

Yeah, Gary's just a super-fan. He does it out of love for the band. No special treatment. He probably just got the CD twice cause he bought enough eco-tickets to make his odds, um, favorable. :)

Anyway a lot of us went to both Webster Hall shows, but if you could've only gone to one, Jess, you chose the right one. Don't get me wrong, the Mon show was awesome too. Tues's show was just, you know, awesomer.

ewizu said...

Hey jess,
could you please post a mp3 of the song. The american tour ended and in europe they won´t repeat the drawing.