Live Review: Conor Oberst/Mystic Valley; Once a Pawn tonight; Shiny Around the Edges tomorrow…

Category: Blog — @ 7:53 pm April 10, 2009

My review of last night’s Conor Oberst concert is actually here, at Spin.com. Read it, then come back and read the rest.

OK, here’s what didn’t make it into that review:

Capgun Coup was on stage when I arrived at around 10:30. Frontman Sam Martin wore what looked like a Kurt Cobain wig and an argyle cardigan sweater — was it some sort of tribute to the fallen hero a few days after the 5-year anniversary of his death? I don’t know. However, I think Cobain would have approved of the tribute as well as Capgun’s crash-bam rock style. (see photo). With the organ/keyboard off to the side, the set had more of a garage-rock feel, but with a proggy overhang that kept things riled up. As per usual, their performance seemed almost purposely sloppy. As Oberst would say later in the evening from stage, Capgun is a band that can’t be put in a box, and doesn’t even know what a box looks like. They’re doing their own thing, whether you like or not.

Clearly some of Conor’s little-girl fans didn’t. From my roost off of stage left I could see a small bevy of bored, pissed-off looking girls leaning against the stage; two of the little puppy dogs had their backs to the band, arms crossed, waiting. They didn’t have to wait very long.

Oberst and Co. wasted no time after Capgun’s rather short set. There was Conor in his super tight skinny brown jeans, button-up shirt, Banana Republic sports jacket and flat-toe cowboy boots roaring into a couple new songs that were darker than the usual stuff, singing about Jesus and charisma with lines like “I got a sad, sinking feeling.” (see photo).

While not overly chatty (He’s no Kasher when it comes to between-song patter), Oberst did get off a few good lines. Halfway through the set he commented on the Slowdown complex. “Me and Robb (Nansel) never thought we’d have our own mall. Now we have our own mall. It’s fantastic,” he said. He dedicated new song “Nikorette” to his dentist and even did a brief promotional speech, repeating the dentist office’s location and saying, “Over the years I smoked a lot of cigarettes, but they can give you something to make your teeth white,” and then broke out a big ol’ smile.

Overall, it was a solid two-hour concert that nicely wove the new stuff with stuff off the first album. The highlight for me is always the slower, quieter stuff, and Oberst has got a couple nice ones on this new record, including a somber waltz called “Ten Women,” and a song that led off his encore that could be “Lua Pt. 2.”

I applaud the fact that everyone in the band got to contribute a song or two, but the only non-Oberst song that stood out was the one sung by Boesel. We’ll see how it all works out in the end. Oberst clearly just wants to have fun with this band. I can’t imagine how you could ever feel on the same level with everyone else unless you shared the writing and lead vocal chores with the rest of your chums.

* * *

After a solid week of shows, here’s the weekend line-up:

Detroit disco garage band Electric Six is at The Waiting Room tonight with Bang Camaro. $13, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr., it’s Stardeath and White Dwarfs, an Oklahoma band fronted by Wayne Coyne’s nephew, Dennis Coyne, and yes, there’s more than a little Flaming Lips residue to their music. Opening is the irascible Talking Mountain. $8, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Lincoln punk duo Once a Pawn opens for Goodbye Sunday at The Barley St., $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night’s just as busy. The Sydney is hosting its first real rock show Saturday with Little Brazil and The Filter Kings. 9 p.m., $5.

O’Leaver’s is hosting Denton, Texas post-punk band Shiny Around the Edges with The Dinks and Watch the Train Wreck. $5, 9:30 p.m.

While Saddle Creek Bar brings the punk, old school-style, with The Upsets, Lowkey, Binfield Broke It and Officially Terminated. $5, 9 p.m.

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