The mark of a great musician is how they fare when standing the test of time.
Folksy Emo Pilgrimage
From women dressed up as Oklahoma cowgirls to men dressed up as farmhand-chic hipsters, there was no shortage in visual excitement for this show or even nostalgic chatter.
For almost every 30-something in attendance, seeing the Bright Eyes banner and the exciting plethora of instruments onstage brought back memories eliciting the imperfect glory days of high school.
“Do you remember when we listened to this song during 4th period math class?”
“Remember when [ex’s name] broke up with me to that song?”
It was amazing to see so many emotions flood back for these fans. And because I didn’t grow up with Bright Eyes, all I could embarrassingly muster up was, “I wonder if he still talks to Phoebe Bridgers?”
Christian Lee Hutson
Opening for Bright Eyes was friend to the band, Christian Lee Hutson.
Coming out dressed as one of Mumford’s sons and strumming to a song that sounded like James Taylor, I was duped into thinking Hutson was just some soft-spoken coffee shop poet.
But in reality, Hutson was probably waiting for me to fall into his trap.
With calm precision, Hutson’s entire presence switched up when he ditched the acoustic for an electric and the Taylor-esque track turned into a frustrated lament about life.
Instead of hearing dewdrops and light string plucks, I was hearing a guitar solo pre-cursed by the phrase “I’m so f**king done this time.”
Hutson turned out to be this hilariously sardonic musician who was equal parts punk and begrudging Americana.
Although he orients himself around this presence invoking cottage-core simplicity, his music is a modern take on the storytelling of blues and folk tradition.
These aren’t folk songs about green pastures. They’re these laugh-riot tangents about hometown bands that never break up and Bright Eyes’ Nate Walcott “f**cking going.”
A Zillennial Perspective on Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes
Although I never made it a secret that I am on the younger side of adulthood, it should be noted that my praise for Bright Eyes lead singer Conor Oberst won’t match that of older attendees.
When Oberst and his humongous band of trained instrumentalists hit the stage, everyone there was captivated by Conor Oberst, the indie rock veteran.
But when I saw Conor hit the stage, all I could think was, “When did Conor become an e-boy?”
Putting aside that my brain is just a Gen Z puddle, it was impossible for me not to love Bright Eyes in my own hyper-critical, pop-culture-obsessed way.
Conor looked like a TikTok star in his gigantic printed pullover, sounded like Oscar The Grouch with his pitchy, gruff voice and spoke like John Wayne with his lyrics invoking the human struggle and tributes to American esotericism.
Although I didn’t see the alt-rock staple that everyone around me saw, I still appreciated Bright Eyes as a band with amazing musicians and a frontman who puts his whole body into his music.
Sporadically dancing around the stage, Conor never lacked the drive to inspire the crowd.
Every song, no matter how slow in tempo or quiet in tone, was made by an effort of great proportions.
Bright Eyes may have never had a poster on my dorm room wall, but with this performance, I’ll definitely put one up in my apartment.
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