Conor Oberst Featuring Dawes at Metro 5/29

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Conor Oberst @ Metro 5/29/14

I spent a little time yesterday afternoon going over setlists from Conor Oberst’s current tour with Dawes, and I can’t say I was too excited about the prospects for the show. A lot of my old favorites weren’t being played in favor of the new stuff, which I’m fine with, and I suppose for newer fans it’s good to play something like “Method Acting.” For my money I’d much rather hear “At The Bottom Of Everything,” but what do I know…All my worries were put to rest a couple songs in when I realized that Conor and Dawes make a pretty great team on stage. The split 7″ they put out for Record Store Day is fantastic, so I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Except I stood there through a full hour set by Dawes (they are acting as opener and backing band on this tour) and I never once felt a spark of excitement. Even on the song “When My Time Comes,” which everyone in the crowd knew and sang along with, it felt empty. They’re talented guys so I feel bad knocking their set, but it was like those early 90’s Springsteen albums where all the songs just kinda mesh together and you can’t really pick one out from the rest. But like I say, they’re great musicians-I really enjoyed watching the tall and lanky bassist Wylie Garber bang out some really tasty grooves. I was ready for it to end about halfway through the set, and every time Taylor Goldsmith said “We just have a couple more…” I could feel my ire rise tenfold.

It did end eventually, and after a longer-than-expected intermission Dawes returned to the stage with Conor in tow and they blazed through a couple tracks from Upside Down Mountain. Almost immediately I could tell that this matching was going to be good. For how much I did not enjoy their set, the job they did backing was astounding. They zigzagged in between solo Oberst songs and Bright Eyes tunes playing a pretty even mix of both. They hit a lot of the hits like “Old Soul Song (For The New World Order)” and “If The Brakeman Turns My Way.” They didn’t shy away from the new record at all though, with 6 of the 21 songs played coming from that. Continue reading “Conor Oberst Featuring Dawes at Metro 5/29”

Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band at The Vic 4/27/13

For a folk singer, Josh Ritter puts on one helluva rock and roll show. Actually, that statement doesn’t need a qualifier-he puts on a great show regardless of genre. Last night at The Vic was no different than the previous five times I’ve seen him. His show is around 90 minutes of unadulterated good times. Even when he’s singing a sad, slow ballad you feel … Continue reading Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band at The Vic 4/27/13

The Joy Formidable with Kitten @ The Vic, 4/2/2013

It’s been a long time since I saw a rock show at The Vic. I want to say the last thing I saw even close to rock was Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band, and that definitely falls more in the folk end of the spectrum. Other than that, Jeff Tweedy solo and Childish Gambino were my last ventures to one of the finest … Continue reading The Joy Formidable with Kitten @ The Vic, 4/2/2013

The Vaccines at Lincoln Hall with San Cisco, 2/6/2013

In the 18 months since I last saw The Vaccines my love for them has only grown. Their second LP, Come Of Age, landed in my top 25 of 2012 and acted as a great follow-up to their awesome debut. When I saw them at Schubas for a Lollapalooza aftershow, I stood at the very front of the stage. It was one of the most … Continue reading The Vaccines at Lincoln Hall with San Cisco, 2/6/2013

Wilco At Fifth Third Ballpark 7/8/12


On Sunday July 8 Wilco played their biggest headlining gig to date. Held at Fifth Third Ballpark in Geneva, IL, there were approximately 15,000 fans on hand to witness what may have been the finest Wilco show I’ve ever seen. To open the gig Wilco invited fellow city dwellers The Congregation and Andrew Bird, making the show a true Chicago affair.

The Congregation kicked things off at 5:30. Their set was like an electric shock, getting people on the field dancin’ and the people in the stands stomping their feet. Gina Bloom’s vocals, which we already know are amazing, sounded spectacular when they hit the crowd. Charlie Layne’s bluesy guitar solos were damn near literal facemelters, and although I know he must have been dying from the heat in his suit he looked cool as ice.


They played a good mix of stuff from their debut EP Not For Sleepin’ as well as new stuff from their forthcoming album Right Now Everything. In particular I really enjoyed these live versions of “He’s Gone,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and “Right Now Everything.” The horn section sounded great, and i think The Congregation probably gained about 8,000 fans in their thirty minute set.

Continue reading “Wilco At Fifth Third Ballpark 7/8/12”

Wilco Week In Chicago

Few bands in the history of rock music have ingrained themselves so finely into the DNA of their hometown as Wilco has. When I think of bands that have become super famous, I don’t usually link them immediately with a place. When somebody says “Wilco,” Chicago is the first thing that pops into my head. So when it was announced a while back that the … Continue reading Wilco Week In Chicago