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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bright Eyes at the Riviera Theater - March 15, 2011

Conor Oberst says Bright Eyes are over. He says that after this album there will be no more, that he will part ways with Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, continuing to do whatever he does. The concert at the Riviera Theater sure felt like a goodbye show on Tuesday night, as Bright Eyes played a greatest hits set with a no regrets feel. It did it's job too, leaving me and the whole rest of the sing-along crowd wanting more.

Openers and Saddle Creek labelmates Mynabirds had plenty to bring and easily filled up the theater with their plunky, poppy sound. There's no wikipedia article on them, so I don't know the lead singers name, but she had a hell of a voice. Dueling keyboards and otherwise sparse instrumentation gave their music a unique feel, and it was a good way to kill the time until bright eyes.

Then the lights shut off and the extremely creepy voice from the beginning of The People's Key came on, as all of the girls in the crowd began to scream. As their idol walked on the stage the screaming elevated to a higher level. Bright Eyes started right into Firewall, the opening track of their newest album, following with another song. Unfortunately, these songs paled in comparison live to older tracks. This was immediately obvious when the opening keyboards of Take It Easy (Love Nothing) started. The singalongs started then too, and continued throughout the night with Bright Eyes older songs. Songs such as We Are Nowhere, And It's Now and Bowl Of Oranges got huge crowd reactions, as songs from I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning were the obvious highlights. All in all it was a great show, with the only downsides being some of the new songs and the sometimes overpowering light show (which was actually quite enjoyable most of the time). Conor Oberst proved to everyone on Tuesday night that he still has it, and he made us wonder why he's ending Bright Eyes for good.

Bright Eyes Setlist Riviera Theater, Chicago, IL, USA 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wavves and Best Coast at the Varsity - February 11, 2011

Why was this concert so fun?
I found myself wondering exactly that as I walked out of the Varsity Theater. None of the three bands that performed Friday night were amazing live. None of them even seemed to be on the top of their games. Nevertheless, it was a great night.
No Joy, the under-appreciated first band, came on and physically hurt my ears. I couldn't understand one word the singer said, but the music was head-nodable and a great way to kill time.

Nathan Williams of Wavves was high out of his mind. Why was I surprised? The band sells cat-branded grinders and rolling paper. But they delivered by far the most fun set. Even with stupid remarks like "We love you Milwaukee!" the crowd ate everything up. Songs from "King of the Beach" were the best, especially the title track. I was even able to escape the moshing taking place on either side of me. I felt like Moses with my 3 other friends splitting the Red Sea. The only downside to the incredible show Wavves put on was closer "Post Acid," usually one of my favorite songs by Wavves. It was so sped up that the guitar and his words blended together into one giant blur. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth, as it seemed like they were in a rush to get off stage. Overall a very satisfying and fulfilling set, though. It's hard not to have fun when there are blow up aliens and beach balls in the middle of February.

Best Coast was great, too. Bethany Cosentino looked great in all black and she had the tunes to go with it. This is where the name Summer Is Forever and the concept of the Summer Is Forever tour came together. I found myself bathed in yellow light with the occasional stray beach ball bouncing over my head. The fuzzy, dueling guitars reminded me of summer. For a minute I forgot I had school again on Monday. Boyfriend and When I'm With You were great, obviously.
And so was my night.

P.S. Guitarist Bobb Bruno is a god. He is a real, neglected source of talent.