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Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

At The Bottom Of Everything

Curious time at the Bright Eyes show last night. The transportation gods were with me as I managed to get to the Phoenix with an absolute minimum of time spent outdoors in the -19 cold. Unfortunately, the band had requested that cameras not be allowed in so I had to check mine – a completely futile gesture, judging from the stroborific light show all the camera flashes in the audience created when the headliners took the stage. Y’know Conor, I don’t use a flash… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

What this meant, besides the fact that the photo accompanying this post is NOT from last night or taken by me, is that I spent a rare show somewhere besides right up front (which is good, as I hear Conor is a spitter…). Instead, I was up on the balcony in the licensed section, overlooking the teeming sea of Livejournals, asymmetrical haircuts and black-framed glasses down below.

Tilly & The Wall had just gotten started when I arrived at 5:30 sharp. Punctual, nice. The crowds were still filtering in while they played their typically bubbly tap-pop, but those in attendance were quick to get into the spirit of the show. Their performance didn’t translate quite as well in a large concert hall as it did when they played the Horseshoe last Fall – the mix was excessively boomy, making Jamie’s tap dancing sound like a John Bonham kick drum and Kianna and Neely’s vocals were kinda raspy – but their exuberance and energy helped make up for that. Judging from the number of Tilly & The Wall shirts and tote bags I saw being bought up after the show, I’d say they made some fans.

Paris-based CocoRosie had a tougher time winning over the crowd. Most didn’t seem to know how to take the band’s peculiar circus-folk sound, and the applause was mostly polite. I couldn’t get into them either, I confess – maybe in a different environment they might have come across a little more effectively, but last night I just wasn’t interested.

And then Bright Eyes. From the sound of crowd when they took the stage, you’d think it was the second coming – and for some, it possibly was. It took a couple songs to get the mix sorted out but once it was, the next hour and a half consisted of a very solid set of moderately energetic and nicely arranged folk and country-rock – I can’t get into set specifics because I didn’t actually know most of the material. They played only one song from Lifted and I think one from Fevers And Mirrors – the rest were all new and technically unreleased since I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, from which the rest of the set was taken, isn’t technically out till Tuesday (though they were selling copies of it and Digital Ash at the show). I bought a copy of the record there and while I liked the show alright, the songs definitely impress more on record – probably because Conor Oberst’s lyrics are easier to understand. But my point is is that limited my ability to get into the show somewhat. But seeing Conor fall over a couple times did add to the entertainment value.

But that’s not the curious thing about the show. I went down onto the floor between the main set and the encore to retrieve my camera from the coat check, and some of the audience down there were behaving like they’d just witnessed the rapture (the Biblical event, not the band). There was one girl I saw crying through the whole encore, and others who looked on the verge of tears or ecstasy. It was as if they were experiencing a completely different show than me – they were taking it in on another level entirely… It’s sort of hard to explain, but it was strange. I felt like a tourist.

Anyway. Bright Eyes. Yeah.

Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover has confirmed (though a contact at Capitol) that Idlewild’s Promises/Warnings has NO North American release date, despite what I’ve read and reported. Apologies to anyone who had March 8 circled on their calendars to camp out at their local record store. Hopefully it won’t be too long in coming after the UK release, or Capitol’s Canadian division will import a bunch of copies for our consumption before a proper domestic version is released, as frequently happens. Sometimes there are perks to being a colony! But as some small compensation, here’s the video for the first single “Love Steals Us From Loneliness”. Link from Torr.

The video for Charlotte Hatherley’s new single “Bastardo” is one of the most fun things I’ve seen in ages. But I’ve always had a soft spot for cute girls with Fender Jaguars.

The Independent talks to Mercury Rev about their new album, The Secret Migration, which is out in the UK on Monday but not over here (in CD format, anyway) till April. Boo.

Aimee Mann’s The Forgotten Arm is out May 3.

I’m waiting for The Wedding Present to announce a Toronto date – My money is on April 26, seeing as how they’re in Montreal the 27th and Boston the 28th. Probably Lee’s?

So my apartment decided to celebrate the one-year anniversary of my flood with – get ready for it – another flood. Not nearly as bad this time, it was a pipe in the laundry room, not my apartment proper, but still a real mess and the timing – 12:30 AM – was just gravy. It was almost an hour and a half before the plumber showed up and was able to shut off the water, and I didn’t get to bed till almost 4. FUN. Nothing I like better than being up for 20 hours under significant stress. I don’t know how Jack Bauer does it.

How was YOUR Friday night?

np – Bright Eyes / I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

By : Frank Yang at 10:59 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. mr g says:

    thanks for pointing out the heatherly vid. i have a similar soft spot…

  2. Carla says:

    Hey the Ear To The Ground fundraiser had a good turn out despite the weather and the fierce competition out there. You should definitely check out the next one (it’s going to be a movie night).

  3. shoma says:

    They were selling the new albums at the show? I knew I should have checked. What was the asking price?

    I agree, it was an altogether ‘different’ experience at the show last night. All those fresh-faced kids were adorable but I felt old and out of touch. I was up in the licensed area so I didn’t get a chance to speak with any of them, which is for the best. I would have probably asked them if they collected pogs and what they did on their last Rae day.

    I preferred CocoRosie’s set to Tilly’s … but I admit my attention wandered because everyone seemed intent on tuning them out with their own conversations. Tilly And The Wall were a little too precious for my liking. I thought I was watching a pep rally at Urban Outfitters.

  4. kylr says:

    Shoma: CDs were $15 each.

  5. Rachel says:

    It’s the Beatles phenomenon. The boys are sooooo dreamy. And musical. And stuff. Can’t explain it. Something to do with that second X chromosome.

  6. Torr says:

    Bright Eyes is for teenagers, that’s why you didn’t get it.

    I’m sticking by the Idlewild u.s. release date, you might be surprised how out of the loop the people who work at labels sometimes are.

    And my friday night was spent at a great Earlimart show, thanks for asking :-)

  7. Frank says:

    hey Torr, you were the one who was challenging the March 8 date I reported a couple months back. you think it’s legit now?

  8. plus.medic says:

    I knew a few people who went to the Bright Eyes show. Definately not my cup of tea but whatever.

    They went on and on about how good it was. One of the girls I know who went was supposedly crying throughout it…a little ridiculous in my opinion. Hearing about it got real old, real fast.

  9. Frank says:

    I think it’s probably for the best that I don’t know any hardcore conor-ites, or I probably wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptation to mock them mercilessly and make them cry again.

  10. Torr says:

    Yeah, I had also been told by Capitol people that it didn’t have a u.s. date yet, but once pauseandplay.com put it up while the label was STILL saying it didn’t have a date, I knew that the label people are probably just out of the loop :-)