Bright Eyes

“We are at a breaking point, the point where peaceful people become violent.”
– Conor Oberst, before frothing into the new tune “Roosevelt Room.”

Last time Oberst came through town he was all sedated from his Cassadaga psychic adventure, sauntering around stage in a glistening white Prada suit. So it was nice to see him bring his angry back last Monday at Radio City. It was Midwestern, blue jeans and rock it in the not-so-free world time.

Things started out calmly, though. No string sections. Just some acoustic numbers, with his pretty much mainstay team these days, Mike Mogis (guitar), Nate Wolcott (horns/keys), Macy Taylor (bass) and Clay Leverett (drums). An old Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear to The Ground fav, “You Will…,”was the energy turning point, of which Oberst gussied up with a 12-string and a stirrup kick right when the band punches in at the end.

From here on out, save for a “Lua” duet with opening band member James Felice on accordion, there was a constant froth on the mic every time a bitter lyric presented itself. It all culminated in the encore, first with the diatribe for the numb-heart set, “Lover I Don’t Have To Love,” next with an otherwise folk song, “True Blue,” Oberst yelping his blueness, crusading for the “last good thing in this evil world” with a heartwarming cover of Tom Petty’s “Walls,” complete with the full line of Felice Brothers, and finally with the militant political, we-are-angry-peaceful-people thrasher, “Roosevelt Room.”

Despite an unsuccessful attempt at throwing his amp around, Oberst managed to punch himself in the head, throw a few beers around and rattle off lines about cockroaches, oil and New Orleans. Save some of that anger for the new record, sir.

Oh yeah, and some dude named Thurston Moore was there playing songs from his latest record, Trees Outside The Academy. A thirteen-year-old girl behind me demanded that “the Thurston band better be done so Conor can come out” after a song about Coco and Kim.–Gavin Paul/photo by Ryan Dombal

Link to Dombal’s Blender review of the Bright Eyes show