Conor's sporting some terrible hair these days, long and greasy like a bass player in a grunge band circa 1992. And he seems genuinely content and at peace with the world, which is awesome for him but not so awesome for an audience used to onstage exorcisms. Perhaps that's why throughout Bright Eyes' 15-song set, he ignored anything older than the 2004 Neva Dinova split One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels, except for "Make War" from 2002's Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground and "Spent on Rainy Days" from his 2002 Britt Daniel split. Those old songs are mostly teenage catharsis.
So Bright Eyes the band, featuring Neva Dinova's Jake Bellows on bass and guitar and ex-Decemberist/current Norfolk & Westerner Rachel Blumberg on drums, lumbered through a set of primarily new songs, taken from the forthcoming Four Winds EP and Cassadaga album, due March 6 and April 10, respectively, on Saddle Creek. Four Winds was played almost in its entirety, and a John Prine cover ("Crazy as a Loon") and a couple tracks from 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning were thrown in.
The opening one-two punch of "Four Winds" and "Reinvent the Wheel" seemed to indicate that this would be a high-energy performance; alas, that was not the case. Soon, everybody had settled comfortably into a languid country-rock pace that would last for the rest of the evening. Even the show-closing "Old Soul Song", which usually erupts into exquisitely controlled chaos, had mellowed.
After watching the "Four Winds" video, I was expecting something much, much more exciting.
Tour dates and more Conor Oberst photos than a 15-year-old emo kid's locker after the jump.
* This actually wasn't the honest-to-goodness first show of the tour, as Bright Eyes played a semi-secret gig in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska the night before.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3