Reviews

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Author: Keegan Hamilton
The question on most fans' minds as they wait for a Bright Eyes show to begin usually has something to do with front man Conor Oberst's level of inebriation. On this night, I'd put his blood alcohol content somewhere between .07 and .09, not staggering around the stage, but not a man to whom you'd hand your car keys either. This, it turns out, is Oberst's optimum level of intoxication, as he and his band belted out yet another stellar Seattle performance, their third stop in the Emerald City this year, this time at the Moore Theatre.

This time the group wasn't touring in support of a particular album (this year's previous visits were in support of the double releases I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn), so the set list drew from the breadth of the Bright Eyes catalog, ranging from the ancient "Falling Out of Love at this Volume" to the unreleased "No One Would Riot for Less."

Backed by the indie-rock equivalent of a 32-piece orchestra, featuring two full drum kits, a harp, a clarinet, a French horn, a trumpet, guitars and a whole slew of synthesizers and keyboards, many songs started slowly, with only Oberst on guitar, then exploded into a harmonic wall of sound as the band kicked in.

Oberst set this tone early, with "Sunrise, Sunset," beginning with a gentle Fiddler on the Roof-esque harp riff before he and the band joined. "The Calender Hung Itself" followed, with booming, rhythmic percussion and the whine of a steel guitar.

The show closed with "Kathy With a K's Song," an obscure track off of the Oh Holy Fools split EP from 2001, a mediocre studio track that killed live. The song embodied the style of the show, as Oberst, bathed in blue light, bawled out the first few bars unaccompanied before the rest of the group joined with a cacophony of harmony.

Scotsmen Sons & Daugthers opened the show, tearing through 10 songs, mostly drawn from their latest release The Repulsion Box. With a guitarist and co-lead singer doing an excellent David Bowie impression, and a front girl with overflowing energy, the quartet more than adequately set the stage.

Bright Eyes releases Motion Sickness, a live album recorded during this year's previous tours, on Nov. 14. Sons and Daughters just released a new single "Taste the Last Girl."


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