Okkervil River at Scala review. Or, on losing that lovin’ feeling.
“Most people, once they reach a certain age, troop through their days struggling like hell with the concept of completeness, keeping up with all the things that were ever part of them, as a way of maintaining the illusion that they bring themselves fully to life. These things usually amount to being able to remember the birthday of the first person they ‘surrendered’ to, or the first calypso record they ever bought, or the poignant line in Our Town that seemed to sum life up back in 1960.”
Richard Ford – Independence Day.
(I started reading this after seeing Caribou’s Dan Snaith recommend it.)
Maybe that’s what it is for nostalgia addicts, a pathological, subconscious faith that the recollection of minutiae bolsters that vital fiction of completeness. As though the ability to recall that line or that album or that time of your life (cast in the dreamy but obscuring glow of remembrance) means you must be the same persisting person throughout the changes.
Well, that’s the sort of bittersweet, wistful, perhaps delusional nostalgia Okkervil River’s show at Scala this past Tuesday threw me right into. I like Okkervil River. In fact, I’d say in the past couple of years, I like them more than I’ve liked most bands I “like.” Enough to say they’ve left a mark on me, enough so that I’d recommend them enthusiastically to friends. But at Scala, surrounded by young kids who knew every single word to every single song, silently mouthing the lyrics so that you knew they spent many a bedroom hour listening to songs on repeat, astonished that words and melodies could so perfectly mirror their feelings–it put a stark distance between my experience and theirs.
And all of a sudden, I remembered what it was to be that kid in the front with the ingrained refrains, how it used to be to go to a show in that way. To feel such an urgent, ecstatic connection to the music, you think you are it and it is you. It slipped away from me without notice.
But thanks, Okkervil River, for making me remember again how heartbreaking phrases sung in mangled cries can make me (or my former self) feel.
(Everybody likes pictures. Bad pictures are better than no pictures. You guys will have to bear with me as I get the hang of this concert photography thing. Please tell me my pictures are shit and that I need to upgrade my camera, because, dammit, then I’ll just have to.)
Drunk with blurry lights.