July 14, 2009
Chicago, IL – The Metro
Review by Natalie K.

Kicking off this either sold out or close to sold out show was Deep Sea Divers which I only got to catch their last two songs, but by only hearing a small fragment of their set I was drawn into their fanbase. They have two drummers which is a tad unusual and unexpected but it did not deter away from their amazing music being played aloud.

Next up was singer/songwriter A.A. Bondy who walked onstage with only his guitar and harmonica in tow in which the guy next to me muttered, “Oh great, this should be boring” but looks are deceiving and by the end of his set not only was this attendee clapping after every song but also cheering. Not only did Bondy captivate the audience with his music but also with his dry sense of humor; after a song finished he stated, “Wrote that after I dropped acid and went to the humane society, don’t recommend that.” He has this carefree attitude which is a sort of a, this is me take it or leave it presence about him and the audience was taking it all in. Bondy sung a mixture of songs off of his debut album American Hearts in which he played spruced up versions of his older songs and some from his upcoming release When the Devil’s Loose. Playing the harmonica while strumming his guitar is something the audience cheered on feverishly every time and after one such round of applause Bondy said, “You know anyone can play one of these things…I’m not trying to be an ass but it’s easy to play”. For his last couple of songs bass player Macey Taylor and the drummer from the Mystic Valley Band Jason Boesel helped A.A. Bondy polish off his set list.

The main act Conor Oberst and Mystic Valley Band is a mouthful to say but their live performance was anything short of full forced jam session. The set started out with “Moab” and the minute the music started the seemingly calm crowd geared up for an enthusiastic sing along with Conor throughout the bands set. “NYC-Gone, Gone” a short yet impact driven song had the crowd revved up the minute the first guitar string was played and I swear I felt the stage shake with all the stomping around the band was doing. Their entire set list was amazing which included “Souled Out!!!”, “I Don’t Wanna Die”, and “Sausalito” just to name a few. The entire Mystic Valley Band feeds off of each others energy and each and every musician on that stage had talent.

The band departed and left Oberst up on stage along with just his guitar and the crowd started changing, “Bright Eyes, Bright Eyes” but Oberst quickly squashed any notion that he will play songs from his previous band by stating, “No, I would not want to hurt anyone in the bands feelings.” The crowd backed off and let Oberst do his thing solo for a few songs. Oberst definitely has a certain style about him with his pegged jeans, ankle boots and beer in hand. The more the band played the happier they seemed to get, or maybe it was the more buzzed they got which could have played a factor. They can pound back all the alcohol they want while on stage as long as it does not interfere with their performance and it did not, in fact I think it improved their energy which entail made their show electric. They closed out the show with “Roosevelt Room” with each band member tossing to the audience either a drumstick or guitar pick and Conor littlerlly blew a double handed kiss to the audience and shouted “au revoir” as he walked off stage.

If you have a chance to check out any of these bands live, you will not be disappointed by their energetic live performances.