Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Deathray Davies, Starlight Mints, Okkervil River

The Wall of Sound Festival April 9, 2006 in Ft. Worth, TX:
Susan and i checked out the final night of the festival at the Ridglea Theater. The Deathray Davies were rockin' out when we got there. It had been a few years since i saw them and they were as energetic and tight as i remember.
They ripped through their songs with with the ease and beer-soaked confidence of the best veteran rockers around. They were supremely entertaining, and they made me feel sorry i wasn't more familiar with their catalog. Remind me to listen to these guys more often.
Next up were the Starlight Mints. No, not the after-dinner gut settler, the sublimely catchy pop enemble from Oklahoma. After a brief sound check, they dazzled us with their sweet sounds and mesmerizing visuals.
i had seen them in a much smaller venue a coupla years ago, but the projected video was obscured by the band members crowded on a tiny stage, depriving the audience of their full set. This time, the Ridglea Theatre provided the proper aesthetic environment for full enjoyment, but it was the venue people who cut them short. Despite their protests, and the urging of us audience members, they had to stop cuz it was getting late...
..And the headliner had yet to play. Okkervil River, creators of my favorite chill album of 2005 capped off the festival with a superb set of "Folk-Punk Rock" songs they are famous for. i love it when a band is so freakin' good that their live set sounds just like the album. i know many people feel the opposite way - they want to hear more spontenaiety from their favorite artists - but i appreciate the precision and practice it requires to get it "just right." And Will Sheff and company got it exactly right song after song. Truly amazing.
Unfortunately for the dummies who left after the Starlight Mint set, Okkervil River wound up playing for only about 40 people. i guess everyone was tired from the long weekend of shows and went home. But Okkervil River is the kind of band who plays balls-out for however many people care enough to bend an ear. They were as appreciative of us as we were of them. They put everything into their set, then came back on stage and treated us with a couple more songs, and by the time the feedback of the final note rang throughout the nearly empty theatre, they slumped off the stage exhausted and soaked in satisfying sweat.
Can't wait to see them again.

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