Roky Erickson and Okkervil River
Thursday, March 20, 2010
Better than: Scraping the carpet for that tab you might've dropped several years ago.
Roky Erickson spent last night on stage at the Fillmore, backed by a rocking Okkervil River and an enthusiastic crowd, who cheered and sang their way through songs old and new. Some in the mixed-age audience might've been in attendance in 1966, when Erickson's 13th Floor Elevators frequented the Fillmore and Avalon. (I had to apologize to one gentleman when I accidentally kicked his cane while walking through the hall. Sorry again about that, sir.)
Erickson and Okkervil River are playing three shows this month in support of the album True Love Cast Out All Evil. Their set of 15 songs included six from the new record, a collection of Erickson originals creatively and caringly produced by Okkervil River main man Will Sheff.
The show opened with a roaring version of "Night of the Vampire" that included a rare Erickson guitar solo and fine fretwork from Okkervil's Lauren Gurgiolo. "The pixie can shred!" exclaimed my guest, referring to Gurgiolo's wailing workout on her Jazzmaster.
After "Two Headed Dog," the group progressed to a jangly "Bring Back The Past" from the latest record and continued to mingle the past with the present, including two more from Erickson's creature feature period: "Stand For The Fire Demon" and "I Walked With A Zombie." The singer didn't contribute a great deal of guitar work to the performance. Throughout the show he made frequent eye contact with bandleader Sheff, and the group leaned heavily on Gurgiolo's guitar talents as she deftly complimented songs with a range of tasty twang and the aforementioned shred.