Reviews

Lifted or The Story is in the Soil....

Author: Shane Handler
05/03/2003 | Glidemagazine.com | www.glidemagazine.com | Live Show Preview
The club scene is sure to become a bygone venue for 23 year-old indie pop rocker/singer-songwriter Conor Oberst. With new singer/song writers emerging left and right; some on course for pop stardom like John Mayer. Meanwhile, others have stayed course on the less commercial highway like Ani DiFranco who still manages to attract crowds and appreciative fans that hang onto everyword from their spoken leader. Which road Oberst is about to travel is anyone's guess, but you can bet on one thing; fame won't change the value of his lyrics and musical arrangements.

Since 1997, Oberst has recorded every one of his solo records under the name of Bright Eyes. However, Bright Eyes is actually a band with a revolving lineup of musicians that is continually fronted by Oberst. Even with a versatile touring band that combines orchestrated melodies, country, folk, and new wave into the mix- Bright Eyes' musical experimentation remains glued to the precarious seams of their earnest front man.

Oberst has grown from the Dylan mode and brought visionary lyrics that ramble with hurt, anger, pride and desolation amongst a shaky voice that trembles, scratches, growls and is contaminated with raw emotion. There's even an ironic British accentuation in his voice, although Oberst is reared from the American heartland in Omaha, Nebraska.

Appreciative of his visit to Vermont, Oberst hardly rambled a word outside of his hour and half performance other than a remark that made mention of the club's hospitable nature and the state's former Governor, Howard Dean's run for United States President. After performing a couple songs that took a clear anti-war stance, there was no confusion as to what side of the political fence Oberst stood.

Stoic in stance, but volatile in expression, Oberst carries the crowd in his voice alone, as ooohs and ahhs would erupt from in accordance with his emotionally poured vocals that sometimes slurred and at other times howled. A couple songs, were performed solo, unplugged and personal, while a few were electric and volatile. The band members all accordingly showcased their distinct skills at instruments ranging from the xylophone to steel guitar. After pounding a large helping of alcohol in between songs with the vigor reserved for a marathon runner, Oberst did not fathom even a flinch and returned to the stage front and center. He obviously takes his Bright Eyes persona and stage presence quite seriously.


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