I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
was about time they made it to Buffalo. I'm sure the crowd that gathered
Nov. 21 at UB's Center for the Arts would agree.
The doors opened at 8 to the dismal sound of Magic Numbers. This group
includes two sets of siblings finishing up their first American tour, which
could be a good thing as they proved to be mediocre at best. It might be
that we're just not ready for another London-based quartet but more likely
that we have already had our fill of alt-country with bands like Wilco and
My Morning Jacket.
Leslie Feist, however, came to the rescue. Feist, born in Canada in the
mid-'70s, is touring in support of her second album "Let It Die." You might
recognize her from work she has done with Broken Social Scene and Kings of
Convenience. With a voice much like that of Shirley Manson of Garbage and
instrumentals similar to those of Cat Power, Feist radiated power and
eloquence. Young, innovative drummer Jesse Bones managed to avoid drumsticks
all together, improvising with shells, maracas and his hands. Their style
varied so much that I dared not try to label Feist as one particular genre.
Rather, I'll just stand back and admire as Feist sings with a chorus of her
own voice that she has managed to layer not once, not twice but four times
in front of a crowd that is now beaming.
To secure this love affair that has developed between her and the crowd,
Feist invited Oberst to help her perform a key track off of her new album,
Enter Bright Eyes. Oberst and what appears to be an orchestra, complete with
harp, assemble onstage and begin to play to an already fueled crowd. Two
songs and four drinks in, Oberst has received more "I love yous" than my
parents have given me in the past year. Keeping his cool, as an indie-rock
god should, he responds smoothly. "I love you, too, and I don't even know
you and you don't even know me. I bet if you did, you wouldn't love me, but
let's keep the illusion going." At the tender age of 23, Oberst sings of
love and heartache that many of us will never achieve. He played songs new
and old including this mouthful, "Oh, you are the roots that sleep beneath
my feet and hold the earth in place," but the real attraction of the night
was the dueling drums. Placed roughly 50 feet apart, a full kit on the right
and another on the left lacking the floor kick and camber, both sets played
in perfect sync, never missing a beat. It was quite the sight to behold, and
I'd be lying if I were to tell you that I hadn't gone temporarily
crossed-eyed from trying to watch both.
In the end, between various profanities and slurs that may have been
profanities, this Omaha native, "Rock's boy genius" if you will, put on a
real bangup show and moreover, introduced girl genius in the making, Feist.
Keep an ear out.
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