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Live stream of Bright Eyes at SXSW

Yesterday night, Bright Eyes’ fans at SXSW must have been thrilled as Conor Oberst and his band did a free concert at the Austin Club Wedding Hall for the AOL Show Series. The concert could be streamed live and even replayed (for how long?) here:

When the stream went on, the room was crowded with people already taking videos with their iPhones. The room, with its heavy antic ceiling chandeliers looked a little old-fashioned, and this made Conor allude to the Disneyland horror mansion at one point: ‘Very soon these walls will start stretching up into the stratosphere!’

Conor had a hood on his head that he kept for a long time and an unknown blonde girl with a large black hat who did backup voices played keyboard. With a loud organ, they started with ‘An attempt to Tip the Scales’ from their 'Fever and Mirror' album, then continued with an explosive rendition of ‘Hot knives’ with nice vocal harmonies. On ‘Take it easy’, Conor looked particularly animated with angry moves with his guitar towards the public.

They started ‘Jejune Stars’ with a strike of fast drumming and violent guitars, and, I know, it was a short set, but I still wonder why they only played two songs from ‘The People’s Key’! He sang ‘Falling out of love at this volume’ with a scratchy voice over some wobbling keyboards.

He announced ‘Beginner’s mind’ as a song about trying ‘not to become a cynical asshole as you get older’, then continuing talking about 'the greenest of the greens and the oldest and most poisonous of the fucking dinosaurs walking next to each other in sunny Austin’,… I’m not sure whom he was talking about, but I guess the poisonous dinosaurs will recognize themselves. ‘Beginner’s mind’, a song for those who ‘managed to stay young at heart after everything’ started almost acoustically, and then an echoing and trembling keyboard became a little overwhelming, but it was probably because of the live streaming, which was sometimes increasing the highest notes.

Then, strumming a dry guitar, they played right away ‘Bowl of Oranges’ with the nice addition of a trumpet, and continued with a soft and quiet beginning of ‘Poison oak’, which took a very dramatic turn after a few verses thanks to the pedal steel guitar, a drama visibly deeply lived by many fans.

They also played ‘The calendar hung itself’ with trumpet and two drummers, as an additional drummer was present for some of the songs and I think he was Scott McPherson; the song was marching like an enraged herd, Conor became all excited, screaming and shaking his head with furor.

Before closing the set with the chaotic-bombastic and overly exhilarating ‘Road to Joy’, Conor announced another free show for the following night in the park, with the Felice Brothers, Kurt Vile… And he sure pronounced the famous line ‘But failure’s always sounded better/Lets fuck it up boys, make some noise!’ with a particular convincing tone!

All this sounded very nice as they played a little bit of many of their albums (‘Fevers and Mirrors’, ‘Lifted’, ‘I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning’, ‘Digital Ash in a Digital Urn’, ‘Cassadaga’, and ‘The People's Key’),… But come on! No 'Shell Games'?


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