With the Bright Eyes concert around the corner, I thought I’d share a handful of reviews of his Canadian swing that’s taking place as you read this. The tone of the reviews is rather subdued, though there’s a couple spooge-fests along with a few hurled rocks. Sounds like Oberst and Co. played mostly mid-size venues — 1,000 capacity or smaller. You can read the full reviews by clicking on the headline in front of each capsule.
Concert Reviews — Straight.com Vancouver — Malkin Bowl on Sunday, June 4 — Maybe the best of the bunch. Inspirational quote: “Three vaguely embarrassed-looking security guards would march a teenage girl out of the venue not long after Oberst and his Bright Eyes band began—she presumably had a bomb or something—but it was an otherwise peaceful gathering of mostly young, female mall hippies. Of the men who were there, many were baffled dads, though there was also a healthy complement of clean-living young men, dressed like they wanted to be English schoolboys when they grow up.” Nice.
Band emotes punk — Goldstream News Gazette — June 9 — Probably the worst of the group, this one will activate the ol’ gag reflex. Get ready to lean over the toilet: “For me, it struck during ‘Lua,’ the fourth song of the evening that he performed alone under the spotlight with his acoustic guitar. On the brink of tears, I heard a little voice deep within me whisper, ‘I love you too.’” One’s gorge doth rise…
Oberst’s brilliance brightens concert — Ottawa Sun — Bronson Centre, Ottawa – June 12, 2006 — This one starts off like it’s going to be a bag full o’ razors with this quote: “I can’t tell you how many times Conor Oberst, the sulky singer and songwriter better known as Bright Eyes, was on the verge of storming offstage in a temper tantrum or breaking down into tears at Monday night’s Bronson Centre gig.” Turns out to be a yawner.
‘Saviour of literate rock’ fails to live up to the hype — The Ottawa Citizen, June 14, 2006. Lynn seemed upset that Oberst’s set was only 80 minutes. “But experience doesn’t always guarantee charisma, and having loads of material doesn’t always mean one is going to play for hours. Oberst gave a decent, 80-minute performance Monday at Bronson Centre but never seemed entirely comfortable in the spotlight. For those who were hoping for superlatives, it was a bit disappointing.” Still, it winds up being fairly even keeled.
London Free Press — Centennial Hall, London, Ont. – June 13, 2006 — Conor talks about loving Labatt’s from stage. “At one point, the Blue seemed to take its own revenge. ‘I’ve got to relieve myself. I’ll be back in 25 seconds,’ Oberst said around the 50-minute mark before actually leaving the stage.“
Concert Review: Bright Eyes, June 10, Winnipeg, Canada — Blah. “Conor Oberst’s vocals wouldn’t have won him a spot on American Idol; with his somewhat husky, shaky style, however, he excels at conveying emotions and telling stories.“
Bright Eyes surprise — June 11 — Hah. “Oberst’s stage schtick has always trended towards preciousness — his distinctive tremulous bleat, in particular — and he found ample opportunity yesterday to do his willow-in-the-wind bit on the slower numbers.“
Sounds like the set list will consist mostly of stuff from from Wide Awake, a new song, and no “When President Talks to God.” All in all, a timid outing that will likely set well with the Memorial Park crowd but won’t win him any new fans. So how many will show up? First, reread my take on what will happen, written back in April. The weather report looks pretty good, which will help, as will the fact that no Nebraska team made it into the College World Series. I still say the numbers will be far less than the 311 concert a couple years ago…
Tonight, retro stoner meets psychedelic rock band The Black Angels (check out their myspace page) are at Sokol Underground with Hopewells and Omaha’s own Virgasound. $8, 9 p.m.
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