Austin, Texas’ Okkervil River are currently on their first major North American tour, a tour which brings them to Lee’s Palace on Monday night. Even without intensive touring, Okkervil River have built a very devoted cult following through the strength of their three albums of literate folk-punk, including this year’s brilliant Black Sheep Boy. The lyrical mastermind behind Okkervil River (named for a short story by Leo Tolstoy’s granddaughter – told you they were literate) is Will Sheff, who also gives Okkervil its rich, plaintive, emotion-drenched voice.
Toronto audiences got a brief taste of what to expect earlier this year when Shearwater opened for The Mountain Goats back in May – while not in attendance because of Okkervil obligations, Sheff also plays in the band and Shearwater principal Jonathan Meiburg is also Okkervil’s pianist. Besides personnel, the bands share a similar aesthetic and sound – and hopefully live prowess. Shearwater were damned impressive in performance.
Supporting Okkervil River on this leg of the tour is Minus Story, who bring their bent psychedelic folk-pop from deep in the heartland of America. Tickets for the show are $10 and if it were possible for Torontoist to offer a money-back guarantee of musical satisfaction for this show, it would. But it can’t, so it won’t. But go anyway.
More musical merriment in Hogtown over the next seven days after the jump.
Thursday, November 3:
Who says movie stars can’t rock? Well, anyone who owns a copy of Bruce Willis’ The Return Of Bruno… regardless, Hollywood’s finest are not to be deterred. Case in point – Juliette Lewis and her bakc The Licks. Now Lewis has always managed to look and act like a rock star – albeit a rock star after a week-long bender – so there’s some chance that this won’t suck. But only some. The brave and curious will want to be at Lee’s Palace for this one ($13.50). Meanwhile, Sneaky Dee’s plays host to Windy City popsters Paper Airplane Pilots, in town visiting extended family in local handclap afficianados Lake Holiday ($5).
Friday, November 4:
Longtime indie scene veterans The Gardens Faithful are calling it a day, but they’re throwing one last party before they go. Say goodbye at the Rancho Relaxo. The Mark Inside and Action Makes are at The Boat in Kensington ($5).
Saturday, November 5:
Saturday is almost certainly one of the single busiest days for shows this year. We’ll start at the Distillery District where Ukula Magazine is sponsoring the Bright Lights Festival which features a shit-hot lineup including Elbow, The Duke Spirit, Islands and The Meligrove Band, among others. The show is happening in the oh-so-rock’n’roll-named Stone Distillery Fermenting Cellar ($25). Over at the Music Gallery, Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman sings for his supper with The Phonemes and Steve Shiffman ($8) while the Silver Dollar plays host to New Orleans’ Quintron & Miss Pussycat ($10.50). Bif Naked plays an early show at the Phoenix ($20), The Black Dahlia Murder gets metal at the Reverb ($16) and Ottawa’s finest post-rock outfit As The Poets Affirm play Pitter Patter Nights at O’Gradys ($PWYC).
Sunday, November 6:
Their number may be down to three, but Broadcast are still alive, kicking and touring their new album Tender Buttons to Lee’s Palace with Warp labelmates Gravenhurst ($15). The Opera House becomes a factory of fear thanks to Fear Factory ($25) while Petula Clark will be, uh, “Downtown”, at the Hummingbird Centre ($39.50 to $69.50). Wavelength at Sneaky Dee’s welcomes the touring Ladyfest Ottawa, which features Cougar Party, The Maynards and Les Alumettes ($PWYC). The El Mocambo gets some Down Under flavour with Ben Lee and New Buffalo ($13.50). I don’t know what’s more unbelievable – that Hootie & The Blowfish – yes, that’s right – are at the Phoenix or that they’re charging $30 for the privilige of hearing Darius Rucker sing the Burger King Fantasy Ranch jingle.
Monday, November 7:
Sweden’s latest pop sensations The Shout Out Louds are back for a third go-around this year at the Mod Club, accompanied by The Sun and The Essex Green ($13.50) while Chicagoan new wave fetishists OKGO! are at the Horseshoe ($13.50).
Tuesday, November 8:
Nu-Music night at the Horseshoe offers up an odd bill, with Shooter Jennings endeavouring to follow in his old man Waylon’s footsteps alongside The High Dials and their psych-rock stylings. Hey, that’s what you get for free. And over at Massey Hall, Jann Arden settles in for a five-night stand ($49.50).
Wednesday, November 9:
White House favourite Kanye West takes some time off from hanging out with his buddy Dubya to play a show at the Air Canada Centre ($45.50 to $69.50). Common, Fantasia and Keyshia Cole are along for the ride. Coheed & Cambria are at the Docks with The Blood Brothers, Dredg and Me Without You ($23.50) and the Opera House plays host to Dillinger Escape Plan and Hella ($20).