Backed by Los Angeles four-piece Dawes, Conor Oberst’s sometimes slow-paced, often morbid and depressive sound was brought to life in an explosive two-hour set which spanned everything from his work with the Mystic Valley Band to a ton of Bright Eyes material and a selection of songs from this year’s Upside Down Mountain.
Make no mistake – Dawes threatened at times to steal this show with their vintage rock sound, which was the perfect accompaniment to Oberst’s sweetly painful vocals. Their guitar-led harmonies gave a new dimension to We Are Nowhere And It’s Now – which was almost seething – and placed newer songs like Zigzagging Toward The Light on a pedestal alongside the more popular Bright Eyes tracks.
It would be easy to think that something such as Lua would lose some of its delicacy in this environment, but if anything it was enhanced by the crackling of Taylor Goldsmith’s electric guitar – particularly in his mid-song solo – and Conor’s voice seemed to be energised by it.
A mid-set triumvirate of a searing Lover I Don’t Have To Love, Hundreds of Ways and the beautiful Bowl of Oranges was the night’s outstanding highlight and worth the price of admission alone.
At times Conor Oberst’s music is better suited to the almost lonesome, understated approach – such as with his solo show at Barbican last year – but on occassions like this show in Glasgow last night he really benefits from a band who can add an entirely new element to his music, which is exactly what Dawes did.