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Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – ACL Festival 2008
Monday May 12th 2008, 12:16 am
Filed under: ACL

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band ACL 2008
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conor oberst austin
Last Mother’s Day I went to a Bright Eyes concert, so on this one year anniversary I must pay tribute to my favorite current singer/songwriter. It was at this concert that Conor Oberst told the crowd, “Texas has taught me a lot about forgiveness. I love Texas.” (Checkout the lyrics to “When the President Talks to God” to understand the forgiveness he is referring to. NBC recently removed his live performance from YouTube). Oberst will be back in the sarcastically loved state of Texas for the ACL Festival in September of 2008 with the Mystic Valley Band. This is Oberst’s first solo project in thirteen years, and the Austin stop will be his first U.S. performance with the new band (he has three performances prior to hitting the Lone Star State, two in England and one in Ireland). In addition to Bright Eyes, he has also performed in the bands Commander Venus, Park Ave. and Desaparecidos. His new solo album was recorded in Tepoztlán, México, which is known for Aztec magic and extra-terrestrial sightings. Update: It was released on August 5, 2008 and you can get it now over at Merge Records.

Before recording this album solo, Oberst released the 2007 album, Cassadaga, which is named after the city in Florida that is known as the “Psychic Center of the World”. The album also comes with a spectral decoder, which I’ve managed to lose, but while in my possession helped to uncover secret album cover translations such as “the past presents the future” and “swollen saints bathing in a backwards river under a sliver of a moon”.  The latest Bright Eyes album didn’t make it to my all time favorite list but from what I’ve decoded in a few recent live recordings, Oberst may keep some of the recent country twang of Cassadaga while also going back to his early Bright Eyes roots. Update: Nope. His new self-titled solo release “Conor Oberst” is definitely more “travel experiences” (count the number of times you hear a Mexico reference) and less heart breaking, lyrics reaching “Bright Eyes”.  However, the earlier albums and a few good tracks from his recent creations are enough to keep me hooked. My psychic powers still tell me that Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band will still be the highlight of my 2008 ACL experience.

bright eyes bass concert hall austin
“Special effects guy”, Bright Eyes Concert @ Bass Concert Hall, 5/13/2007.
During the show, random images were placed on a projector at the back of the concert hall. I don’t take concert pictures, but I snapped this with a friend’s lens to see which items were used. To get a glimpse of how the effects pan out on stage, checkout the official video: Bright Eyes – Hot Knives from Cassadaga, 2007.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – Souled Out!!!
from Conor Oberst, 2008

A Handful of My Favorite Bright Eyes Words and Songs from Past Albums:

“There is a man holding a megaphone, he must have been the voice of God. The bystanders claimed they saw angels flying up and down the block. Well, they must have been attached to wires. I’d seen one laying in the lawn with a broken arm, so I called 911. Well that’s one less founded opinion. One more cause for a dispute. So the street filled, like a basin, up with cameras and their crews. And they washed away the rumors leaving just the concrete truth. It was a spectacle. No, I, I mean a miracle…”
Bright Eyes – From a Balance Beam

“When the president talks to God, are the conversations brief or long? Does he ask to rape our womens rights and send poor farm kids off to die? I doubt it…”
Bright Eyes – When the President Talks to God

“But once you knew a girl and you named her lover, danced with her in kitchens through the greenest summer. Autumn came, she disappeared. You can’t remember where she said she was going to. But you know that she is gone, ’cause she left you a song that you don’t want to sing…”
Bright Eyes – A Perfect Sonnet

“The drunk kids, the Catholics, they’re all about the same. They’re waiting for something. Hoping to be saved…”
Bright Eyes – Drunk Kid Catholic

“And we’ll just keep working on the problem we know we’ll never solve, of love’s uneven remainder. Our lives are fractions of a whole. But if the world could remain within a frame, like a painting on a wall, then I think we would see the beauty then. We would stand staring in awe, at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges…”
Bright Eyes – Bowl of Oranges (Official Video)

“We must talk in every telephone, get eaten off the web. We must rip out all the epilogues from the books we have read. And to the face of every criminal strapped firmly to a chair- we must stare, we must stare, we must stare…”
Bright Eyes – At The Bottom Of Everything (Official Video)

“And you said this is the first day of my life, I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you. But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you. And I’d probably be happy…”
Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life (Official Video)
(With a cameo by Bitch and Daniela Sea)

“I’ve got a hunger and I can’t seem to get full. I need some meaning I can memorize. The kind I have always seems to slip my mind. But you, but you…you write such pretty words, but life’s no storybook. Love’s an excuse to get hurt. And to hurt…”
Bright Eyes – Lover I Don’t Have to Love (Official Video)

“Sometimes I worry that I’ve lost the plot. My twitching muscles tease my flippant thoughts. I never really dreamed of heaven much, until we put him in the ground. But it’s all I’m doing now. Listening for patterns in the sound. Of an endless, static, sea…”
Bright Eyes-Easy/Lucky/Free
from Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, 2005


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