Bright Eyes Close…Perhaps Forever
Doug Barclay, Tower Staff
September 3, 2011
Filed under A&E
I frequently write about the ending of things. It is is my own fault really, when a TV show ends, a friend moves away or a band breaks up. I tend to discover myself trapped in a vacuum of nostalgia. Only time will tell for sure, but the Conor Oberst led, indie rock band, Bright Eyes is increasingly looking like a perpetrator of the latter.
Before the kid that played piano covers of Lady Gaga songs on Ellen and before Justin Bieber was selling millions of records to naïve children, Conor Oberst was considered to be the brightest musical prodigy of his time. Bright Eyes formed when Oberst was fifteen, their first record would be released three years later. In the ensuing years that followed while his peers were going to prom and and college frat parties, Oberst was being heralded as the new generations Bob Dylan. It is very rare for an artist to have such a strong and consistent musical output as Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes. Before the age of twenty-five he was touring around the nation with legends like Bruce Springseen, R.E.M, John Fogerty and Jackson Browne as part of 2004′s Vote For Change tour.
Bright Eyes is a band whose own image coupled with my own personal bias prevented me from letting them in to my psyche until this previous summer. Though my peers had been campaigning for me to listen to them since we were old enough to care about such things, it often takes a certain moment in life to truly lock one onto something. In my case it took that special spark of a new friendship, mutual respect for each other’s interests, and the smallest dash of coincidence. After years of not wanting to care, all I needed to hear were a few bars to know that I was hooked.
In the sparing months since that moment, Bright Eyes has morphed into my go to soundtrack for almost every emotion conceivable by the human brain. Heartbreak? Sure, I will put on “Something Vague” and get really sad. Wondering whether my hopes and dreams will be realized? Boom, “Road to Joy” at the fullest volume possible. And now it may all be coming to a close.
Since releasing the latest Bright Eyes album The Peoples Key in February, Oberst has become increasingly cryptic as to whether this will be the final hour in which his legions of fans can hear their beloved songs in concert. In a recent interview Oberst noted that he didn’t think anything was “official.”
Sunday, Bright Eyes comes to the 9:30 Club in DC. I have my ticket, and am headed there with two people whose respect I hold and whose eyes will be filled with the same type of “is this really happening” wonderment as my own. I hope as many people as possible can say the same about Bright Eyes or another group. If in fact it is the last time I will ever see them, well then I guess I will just to have to make sure I sing my heart out.