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all words: Svetlana (from 930 club show)
all photos: Jason Bender (from Rams Head show)

Seeing Conor Oberst take the stage at 930 club this past Sunday sort of puts things into (vaguely depressing, “what am I doing with my life?”) creative perspective for you. A fellow child of 1980, he’s been a literally unstoppable dynamo of music production, distribution and performance since the age of 13, which he released his debut album, formed the band that would later become The Faint and I guess, actually went to middle school. Later on, as we all know, came: BRIGHT EYES (h/t to Art Garfunkel there), Saddle Creek record label, mentions in Jonathan Franzen’s books, Monsters of Folk, Esquire writing him an apology letter and other things in between.

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After almost two decades of this kind of hard work (and especially the XXXtreme touring schedule of 2011), you’d think he’d be tired.

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But seeing his this weekend, taking the 930 Club stage, and singing, dancing, sweating and stage diving to every song him, Mike Mogis and Nate Wolcott and their current touring line-up (which includes DC’s very own Laura Burhenn this year) had in store for the enraptured audience, you realize-there is nothing he’d rather be doing. Hell, there’s nothing else he could be doing. This band is him, and he is this band.

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First Aid Kit, consisting of Scandinavian sisters Johanna and Klara (adequately adorable, adequately young) opened and the crowd (packed in tight and close to the front of the stage, not risking their opportunity to be as close to Conor once Conor was on stage) lapped up their gentle folk with a big spoon. For those looking for seconds (and there seems to be plenty)-keep an eye out for their record (produced by Bright Eyes’ very own Mike Mogis) coming out soon.

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Then-it was Bright Eyes time. After 14 years and dozens of indie-to-mainstream hits, it was interesting to speculate what this set would look like. They opened with Another Travellin’ Song, and from then on till the encore,  it was two solid hours of someone’s favoritest song ever for the packed in 930 club audience. People sang along, hugged, screamed, tried to touch the band and each other and came together as one. Even if you are not a die-hard Bright Eyes fan (which is how I’d describe myself, more of a casual admirer really) when songs like “The First Day of My Life” or “One For You, One For Me” came on, you had to feel the collective goosebumps sweeping the crowd.

As the final song closed in, someone screamed “CONOR! YOU MADE MY YEAR!”, and at that particular moment, drunk on Bright Eyes kool-aid, all of us just nodded.

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