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[live review + photo] Okkervil River, Titus Andronicus, Future Islands @ Royale

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Wednesday night Royale had probably one of the strangest lineups this summer. Not one band matched the other in any way, and the crowd, mostly there for headliner OKKERVIL RIVER, pictured above, was a diverse mix of ages and subcultural fashion statements.

Baltimore’s FUTURE ISLANDS opened the show with their special blend of powerfully emotive post-wave songs. The only real way to describe singer J. Gerrit Welmers on stage is completely animal. This guy holds nothing back – he’s a growling wave of passion, rolling on the ground, screaming with his head in his hands, giving everything he has to the crowd.

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Up next was New Jersey’s TITUS ANDRONICUS (above). I’ve seen these guys four times, and this was the first time I’ve seen frontman Eric Harm wear anything other than a pair of ratty brown pants, a black t-shirt, and a pair of beat up Saucony Jazz sneakers. Instead, he wore slightly newer looking versions of all three of these things. So needless to say, the swanky young executive atmosphere of Royale didn’t compliment the gritty and raucous nature of Titus very well. Although, it was quite funny to hear the whole band shouting “you’ll always be a loser!” during “No Future Part III” and imagine they were jeering at the 30-something yuppies sipping cocktails in the back.

Around 10:15, OKKERVIL RIVER frontman Will Sheff strolled onto the stage sporting a wool blazer, a sweater, and a collared shirt. He then proceeded to sweat his balls off because it’s June and it’s 80 degrees out and there’s no reason anyone should be wearing any of those things in this weather. Seriously though, this guy’s from Texas. Why does he even own a sweater? Regardless, he played on through the sweat, as his t-shirt clad bandmates stayed cool.

Sam Ueda is the Boston Phoenix's college intern for Summer 2k11. See him at shows and say hello. Then tell him to take better notes. 

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