[image-1]Thursday night’s Bright Eyes show attracted a sizeable crowd of skinny-jeaned, chain smokin’ emo kids. The Omaha-based band was preceded by an enthusiastic set by the Felice Brothers, notable for their big bearded accordian player, followed by a sleep-inducing mainly acoustic performance from Nik Freitas that had me fantasizing about that scene in Animal House where John Belushi crushes a guitar. (Granted, it got better when he was joined by a band, but it was too late.)
Though there was some excitement when Bright Eyes took the stage, it wasn’t as much as I’d expected. The crowd was pretty subdued throughout the performance, with gentle head-bobbing the main indication of their enjoyment. The stern-faced Conor Oberst interjected a few comments here and there, including a rundown of the band’s previous two visits to Charleston (the first resulted in a rudely abrupt cancellation of their show, the second in a gunpoint robbery). The crowd cheered when he shared his sentiments on the Iraq War, though arguably their most enthusiastic moment came when he randomly mentioned the name of another local venue (“Whooo! I’ve been there!).
Overall, Bright Eyes played a great show featuring some new and a lot of old stuff, but the crowd was just a little too… emo. Loners leaned against the wall suspiciously eyeing others, couples stood intensely staring into each other’s eyes, and one kid even huddled in the corner with his head in his hands. We know these lyrics can be moving, but maybe you should just stay home and listen to your iPod.