Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Recap: Bright Eyes & Oakley Hall In San Diego

I was exhausted last night and a brief nap didn't really do much to make me any less tired. I picked up my friend Dave and we were at the venue by a little after 8. We missed McCarthy Trenching entirely, but had no problem getting around the crowd toward the front. I would've liked to maneuver up about 4 more feet, but no such luck.

Oakley Hall:
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Oakley Hall was onstage and I think I counted 6 people on stage. I would call them alt-country but a little less on the "alt" side and more on the "country" side. Maybe "roots" is a better descriptor? They still won't be on the stage with any of those contemporary country cheeseballs. The songs we saw had mixed vocals from one female and two guys, all mixing it up with each song. At times, the girl's voice reminded me of a young Dolly Parton but then would change to something more gritty like Lucinda Williams. I liked the instrumentation, particularly the fiddle and the one-time (?) use of the banjo. They were a good indicator that this night would probably lean to the twangy side of Bright Eyes' repertoire.

When they finished, there was a half hour for people to push and shove and try and pretend like their best friend/girlfriend/mom was in the front row. Thanks to a seecurity guard pushing through to get outside and then pushing back up, I managed to get a little closer to the stage. When Bright Eyes finally came on their flower adorned stage, everyone in the band was donning white. White suits, white shirts, the guitarist had a white hoodie with some sort of pattern on it...All this, of course, for a black light. So despite being relatively close to the stage, the lighting was awful from the standpoint of a 6 megapixel camera carrying blogger.

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I figured in a couple days, you can just click on Natalie's blog, since she had a photopass and has all the high tech camera goods and the skills to match. Anyway, since I was standing in the vampire pose (arms across my chest), I decided I'd enjoy the show more from a place where I could actually move, so I retreated to the back. Not surprisingly, that's where most of my friends were anyway. I took a couple really bad pictures of the setlist and then just enjoyed the show. It was my first time to a Bright Eyes show and I was happy with the performance- somehow I expected it to be kinda boring and not lively at all, but the music translates well to a large venue. The song I'd hoped for yesterday ("No One Would Riot For Less") was followed by a fast version of First Day of My Life. Since I'd read a Seattle blog suggesting the fast version was disappointing, I thought I would hate it, but it seemed to me to work just fine. I heard grumblings that Conor focused so much on new stuff, but that's kinda the point of touring in support of a release, isn't it? All I know is I enjoyed myself immensely and I'm glad I didn't let myself back out going to this show.

I hung in the back for most of the set and watched Jack? John? I don't remember. Anyway, this dude hangs in the sound area with an overhead projector and plays with various props under the light to project on to the back wall of the venue. He was shaking and moving plastic straws, color chips, a oiuja board and compass, water in a concave dish with food coloring drops, markers, and on and on. It was cool to watch but was also one of those things that make you think, "I want that job!" Anyway, before the encore, I asked if I could have his setlist at the end of the show, so here it is. I like the notes because it tells him which props to use for each song. The show was only 14 songs; on this list they skipped #14 (marbles) and instead, song 15 ?? ended up being about an 8 minute version of Road To Joy (I'm Wide Awake It's Morning). It was an amazing finish to an amazing show.

Bright Eyes setlist:
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Bright Eyes backdrop projection props:
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Tania said...

how in the heck do you always get the set list. I tried to get it for Wolfmother last night, but no dice. what's your secret? :)

Rosemary Bystrak said...

I flash my boobs.

Just kidding. Half the time nobody else is asking for them. I got this one from the guy doing the visual projection screen. Try finding someone you can ask before the show ends, but without interrupting them from their job. Remember that there are usually copies for each musician onstage, a couple off stage, and at least one at the sound board.

adamg said...

Cool to see the notes on the projetions. Looked amazing in LA.

Natalie said...

Yeah i'll have photos up in a few days. My lord, 3 songs and I ended up with 154 photos. Edit, edit, edit.

The blacklight thing was...interesting...even with an 8.1 MP digital SLR camera. Although I think they turned out better than I thought they would. I was actually glad for the red lighting during the second song!

And for the record, having a photo pass at Soma still means you have to fight through the crowd to get to the photo pit. Ended up finding another photog on the way up, and it's actually amazing how people will try to help you move up if you just say you have a photo pass and need to get to the pit. Like people that would have elbowed you in the ribs actually start telling people around them to move. Amazing.