Artists: Bright Eyes

Venue: O2 Academy Leeds

Review by: Charlotte Strickland

THE awkward Conor Oberst fronts his six piece band, Bright Eyes, at the O2 Academy.

He is that too, awkward.

He has been since his early work aged 15, but it’s part of his charm and is perfectly reflected in his somewhat gritty lyrics.

It’s hard to predict what to expect from a band with such a vast discography, dating back to 1995 and spanning to their February release, The People’s Key. With such an extensive catalogue to chose from, this show was always going to offer variety.

Another Travelin’ Song taken from I’m Wide Awake kicks things off.

It’s a popular opener and with seven people on stage the sound is much heavier than I expected from an acoustic-based performer.

The audience aren’t treated to any new material just yet but instead taken on an emotional roller-coaster as Oberst plays earlier tracks. Four Winds and Bowl Of Oranges fill the room, something I’d always felt as album tracks they would never manage.

Oberst sings much better that I imagined, perhaps a reflection of his development as an artist since his early releases.

The mood is taken down a notch with Something Vague from Fevers and Mirrors which reveals the worries and troubles of a much younger writer.

New tracks Shell Games and Approximate Sunlight are much more optimistic, which I would suggests sums up the latest LP. Single, Jejune Stars, is a prime example of this new found attitude.

Bright Eyes surprised me with their live performance and although Oberst has disregarded rumours that he is retiring the Bright Eyes name, catch them at any opportunity you get.