Sunday, July 12, 2009

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band / Jenny Lewis @Battery Park, July 4th

This past 4th of July, a bunch of us got da hook up from dear Whitney to go sit in the VIP section for the annual free concert in Battery Park. Even though our location was not optimal for hearing the musicians and seeing the stage, at least we didn't have to get in line hours earlier and worry about anyone stealing our spots since seats were aplenty in our section. Plus, we had the added bonus of free barbecue, drinks and ice cream, so it was all good.

The concert opened with indie darling Jenny Lewis, whom I had caught less than a month prior in Williamsburg. Her setlist was more or less the same, coming in a little shorter at 55 minutes, so I was not at all fussed to be up front again like I had been for the smaller venue show. She was her usual beautiful self, and her mood reflected the sunny gorgeous day. A nice twist -- for her cover of the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle Me With Care," she brought out Conor Oberst and his band for backup vocals duty as a preview of what was to come.

The headliner was Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, a band I was somewhat looking forward to, but not in any huge hurry to spend any money on. I've enjoyed Conor Oberst's usual iteration of Bright Eyes a number of times before, so I kinda knew what to expect, but didn't have any familiarity with his latest material.

With Conor Oberst, I find it important to be in the mood for his music. He can be really awesome if you're totally into it, but if not, it wears thin pretty quickly. He and his bandmates are certainly talented, but after a while, the songs can kinda sound all the same. And the combination of our being on the side, and not knowing the material made us a bit restless towards the end. The music, however energetic, proved a bit much to take at an hour and 45 minutes.

Nonetheless, the afternoon proved to be a perfect way to spend a 4th of July with friends and decent food and good entertainment, and in the end, isn't that what it really is all about?

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