Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews



Author: Robin Bacior
10/02/2007 | Synthsis | | Live Show Preview
The night of September 24th was one of those rare times the Senator Theater has come somewhat close to capacity. The theater was pregnant with loads of anxious bodies within those high-ceilings and decorated walls, all awaiting the Chico debut of Bright Eyes. A majority of the audience had arrived by 8 PM, and more steadily joined the crowd as the night proceeded.

The night began with solo act Nik Freitas. Although the set was rather short, Freitas set a well-received tone for the evening with his batch of pop-esque, low-key tunes and sweetly pitched vocals. Freitas dabbled with guitar and piano, but kept a mellow composure throughout. By 8:30 PM, Freitas turned the stage over to Port O'Brien. The four-piece played slightly longer then its predecessor and offered a more animated set, specifically with band member Cambria Goodwin taking breaks from instrumental duties and dancing modestly across the stage. The music seemed very collaborative, with each member adding instrumentally as well as vocally on most songs, by all chanting both chorus and verse melodically in unison. The group performed several songs off their new album, The Wind and the Swell, based on band member Van Pierszalowski's experience working on his father's fishing boat in Alaska in summers' past.

At approximately 10 PM, Bright Eyes collected on the stage in the midst of hollering adoration from the crowd. With Conor Oberst's back to the crowd, sounds of "Another Travelin' Song" began to emerge. Bright Eyes started and finished (pre-encore) with songs from I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, filling the middle with their pick of tunes from their handful of albums. The sounds were complementary to Oberst's vocals constantly broken yet clinging to tune, he breathed stories and poetry into the microphone, joined with the usual ingredients of drums, guitars and the addition of horns and slides to create a sort of instrumental drawl. Oberst occasionally paused between songs for quick banter, mostly to praise his roadmate Nik Freitas, whom he later brought up during his encore. Bright Eyes kept a pleasant balance of slow, somber melodies and more lighthearted, alt-country songs. By the final note, hands slapped together in approval and the Senator gave birth to hundreds of bodies on the Chico streets, all adorned with giddy faces from the night's melodies.


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