Friday night I headed over to the Bowery Ballroom with Wawa, his friend Marc, Shana, Andie and Matt from The Music Slut to check out Bright Eyes aka Conor Oberst & Co., who are in the midst of a mini-tour supporting the newly released Four Winds EP and the upcoming full-length Cassadaga
In the past I have caught Conor playing a song or two here and there, and once for a proper gig during the forgettable Digital Ash In A Digital Urn tour in May of 2005, and was never blown away. I have been reluctant to embrace him and the love bestowed upon him by the indie kids, finding him a wee bit too precious and waif-like for my tastes and doubting whether he can truly be the next Bob Dylan. Plus, I really have to be in the mood to listen to an entire cd of his in one sitting. So, I was definitely not looking for a self-indulgent, acoustic set after a very long week.
Well, Conor brought the guns. He played a tight, energetic set without spending too much time on the mope, interspersing a nice level of banter throughout the 2-1/2 hours. I didn't know everything he played, but he brought a sense of urgency to his songs that Andie deemed "compelling." And the crowd was not filled with as many assholes as I had originally worried there'd be. The three girls who jutted in front of us did comment on what beautiful wrists Conor had, however.
The icing on the cake? M. Ward showed up about 2/3s of the way through the set and played second fiddle to Conor for the most part, occasionally lending his smoky vocals to the songs. A nice surprise, well, not really, since Conor did declare Matt to be his BFF, and well, M. Ward does appear on the new material.
Check out Music Slut Matt's review of the show here.
All in all, a great show. I hadn't been excited like that by a show in quite some time. Always good stuff at the Bowery.
Oh, also Craig Wedren, the lead singer from Shudder To Think, was one of the openers for the evening. He plays an interesting blend of songs with sounds ranging from hard rock/punk to pop. Craig has a melodic voice and often uses it almost operatically. I didn't realize that he has written many songs for various film soundtracks, including one of my favorites, Velvet Goldmine. His music had its moments, but was quite uneven, perhaps since he was trying out new material for the most part. I enjoyed his set I caught in November 2005 at the Living Room much more.