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Catch Okkervil River and Black Joe Lewis Tomorrow at Terminal 5

September 25th, 2013

Okkervil River began playing the Venn diagram overlap of alt-country, indie rock and folk rock a decade and a half ago in Austin, Texas. And although the lineup has changed over the years, Will Sheff remains the band’s guiding presence. Their fantastic seventh album, The Silver Gymnasium (stream it below), is the most personal to date—telling tales of Sheff’s small New Hampshire hometown. And the frontman, who’s been a Brooklyn resident since 2007, tells Brooklyn Magazine: “In order to bring that passion and substance and emotional investment to rock music, which I feel is becoming a little milky and watered down right now, I felt like I should put something of my own on the table.” And it worked. The LP has earned Okkervil River (above, doing “It Was My Season” in studio for WNYC FM) plenty of worthy acclaim.

Joe Lewis was working in an Austin, Texas, pawnshop when he first picked up a guitar. He began playing gigs around town as part of a blues trio. But his interests also included, rock, soul and R&B, so Lewis branched out musically and eventually started playing with different people. Then things clicked. With seven talented backing musicians (including horns), Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears (above, playing “Come to My Party”) have a big sound and so even the songs that are straight to the point, like “I’m Broke” or “Big Booty Woman,” will keep you moving. The Honeybears have earned comparisons to Stax Records groups—although keeping it local, they don’t sound too dissimilar from the Dap-Kings—and with his big, shouted vocals, Lewis’s name is mentioned alongside Wilson Pickett’s. The band’s excellent third album, Electric Slave (stream it below), came out last month. The Boston Herald says, Black Joe Lewis’s music never felt restrained. But his new album, Electric Slave, shows he’s been holding back.” See both bands tomorrow night at Terminal 5.