Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Author: Lisa Braverman
11/15/2005 | Indiana Daily Student | | Album Review
Conor Oberst didn't know what he was in for -- and neither did the patrons of the Bright Eyes concert Sunday night.

Oberst said he had played in Bloomington before but never expected it to "look like this," as his previous experiences entailed much smaller gigs.

The IU Auditorium was a rowdy house as the 25-year-old singer/songwriter took the stage Sunday evening.

Originally from Nebraska, Oberst wrote many songs for other bands and toyed with a few acoustic recordings of his own before becoming the lead singer of the up-and-coming band Bright Eyes, which drew a nearly ly packed auditorium Sunday.

Although their songs were passionate, the band showcased its true diversity as it played full-out rock numbers, slower ballads and many tunes with a distinct country feel. Bright Eyes' partly punk genre alone helped bring something new to IU's concert schedule which, partly because of the School of Music, is largely classical.

"The Union Board wanted a rock concert," usher Nick Coffing said.

Openers Willy Mason and David Dondero provided quieter, acoustic-based rock before taking it up a notch with country and harsher-sounding music to build excitement for the main act.

"(I came to the concert because) Bright Eyes is like the Bob Dylan of our generation," junior Tom Wheeler said.

The concert opened with a harp solo, followed by Oberst's guitar and vocals, as well as the band. Bright Eyes' talented band was comprised of a bass, keyboard, different kinds of drums, electric guitars and occasionally a trumpet. Making the music come alive, the musicians shook the entire room during certain songs.

Featured songs ranged from current releases off the band's albums Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning to older tunes and potential future hits.

Oberst kept the mood light as he and his band performed their eclectic mix of music. When introducing the song "I Won't Ever Be Happy Again," the lead singer jokingly said, "which is not true, because I am today and I probably will be tomorrow."

The singer's ability to joke around before busting out a rock number was a good indication of his versatility as both a musician and entertainer. While similar groups have the tendency for every song to sound alike, Bright Eyes completely shattered the idea that rock has to be a constricting genre. Oberst sang at times with only a guitar or bass to accompany him, at other times with a full band -- and even once with both his openers.

Although attendees had many different reasons for coming, the majority of their reactions were the same. After their initial set, feverish applause and cheering begged Bright Eyes to play an encore, which, after a few minutes, it agreed to. Toward the end of the concert, fans' frantic cheering and dancing matched the passion they were witnessing onstage.

"(This was) the best concert I've ever been to -- it was just so moving and emotional," sophomore Shea McKee said.