This wasn't star studded like the Academy Awards, but with artists from across the indie board.
Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) went to support her friends who were also playing with Bright Eyes, Vetiver and Whispertown 2000. There was speculation as to whether or not she'd make a surprise appearance on stage, but she didn't.
Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and girlfriend Brody Dalle (The Distillers), Jimmy Tamborello (Postal Service), Devendra Banhart and Har Mar Superstar were among the crowd.
Considering that Oberest was performing new material for his peers as well as fans seems like a daunting task, but he seemed to handle it well. The band had equipment problems since they
were playing on rentals, but it didn't set them back.
The band performed songs from the new EP "Four Winds" and the upcoming full length album "Cassadaga."
Mike Mogis, guitarist Jake Bellows, sharp fiddler Anton Patzner, and a guest appearance by M. Ward help create a hometown, country feel. Oberest played acoustic guitar and kept his warbly vocals in tact. But he had more control than usual over his vocal stying. He sounded like a grown up, and even dressed like one.
It wasn't the stereotypical Bright Eye's show. It wasn't a room full of slightly depressed, love sick afficionados bawling their eyes out.
There's a clip of Bright Eye's singing "Lua" on "Coachella: The Movie." The sun is setting and it's just Oberest and a guitar and there's a girl who is moved to tears. Oberest sang the same song and not a teary eye in the house. Maybe Bright Eye's fans have grown past that.
Oberest stopped to talk about the last time he performed at the El Rey. It was 2001. An acoustic set. He didn't look at the audience and he was drunk on whiskey.
This time around it was different. He was different. In the middle of the show, a fan presented him with a painted portrait.
"Sweet," he said and passed off the gift to a band member who unveiled it for the crowd. But he was kind of indifferent. Oberest may be making an effort to connect more with his fans, but he's still distant.
There are still more stops on the tour before "Cassadaga" is released. Whether or not it opens him up more, it's obvious he's growing. Maybe it makes him seem indifferent or distant, but he'll find a new way to connect with fans, minus the tears.
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