Saturday, November 29, 2008

Conor Oberst/Felice Brothers Live @ Stubbs BBQ...

Found some down time while here in NYC - awaiting a late reservation at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill - to put together a few words/pictures regarding the raucous concert i attended last weekend in Austin. One that featured 2 bands, each of whom has an '08 release in the Top 5 of my soon to come year-end list.

The show was everything i expected from both bands - unrivaled energy, expert showmanship, and of course great music. From what i could gather, many show goers were there to see the artist formerly known as Bright Eyes and had no clue who The Felice Brothers were. As if to exploit this fact, the Felices opened their set with a new low-key, slow ballad keeping the stage lights dim. Just when they had this fresh audience lulled into submission, The Felice Brothers stomped into Whiskey In My Whiskey, bringing the house down with only their second song. Although it made for a somewhat less accessible set, the band filled the half of the show with new material, foreshadowing (hopefully) an early 2009 release.

i didn't jot down a complete setlist (much less remember much of anything after Conor began) as Makers Mark gradually climbed its way up my priority list throughout the night. But i can tell you it was a riot. There was a veritable mosh pit/hoedown for much of the concert. Conor and his Mystic Valley Band know how to engage a crowd as well as keep things interesting. Many of the Felices made cameos in Conor's set - as well as a surprise appearance from Ben Kweller. All were present for a wild encore of I Don't Wanna Die (In A Hospital).

Both bands were more than impressive, and they each solidified/earned the spots they should receive on many Best of 2008 lists.

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