after waiting through forgettable sets by Son, Ambulance and Matt Focht, who performed an unfortunate cover of "Long Black Veil", it was time for Jenny Lewis and her incredibly nimble band of hippies (they should probably go ahead and use that name). after listening to Acid Tongue a few times now, i have to confess that i much prefer the live versions of most of her new songs. some of the things that seem like small missteps on the album prove to be sparkling moments on the stage.
conor oberst and his mystic valley band took the stage looking smart in matching black track jackets and quickly ran down a list of songs from last month's self-titled release. the boys also played a few songs from the Nik Freitas and Taylor Hollingsworth catalogs, as well as "Smoke signals" which is one of the most incisive and poignant things Mr. Oberst has written ( i can't imagine why it wasn't included on the album). overall, the front-man seemed more focused and invested in the performance than in a typical bright eyes show. he even danced some sort of strange dead-Elvis jig.
the set ended with a raging version of "i don't want to die (in the hospital)" that prompted the first crowd-surfing attempt that i have ever witnessed at a show like this. for his efforts, the drunk surfer was rewarded with an elbow to the throat from the my lovely Sara.
the night before, we caught an impressive line-up of Nebraksa bands as part of the Lincoln Calling music festival. we stopped by a great venue called the Box Awesome to see Darren Keen (The Show Is The Rainbow) trip through a brief set of half-started, half-finished songs aided by his tiny keyboard and and, apparently, some psychadelics. it was fun and endearing in a Daniel Johnstony sort of way. we ran upstairs to see FTL Drive (shrug), then back to the basement to see the sweet and infectious Honeybee. back upstairs, I fell in love with Bear Country again, before returning to the house party atmosphere of the basement for a sweaty, piss your drawers set from Capgun Coup. i truly believe that those guys have limitless potential. disappointingly, Baby Walrus weren't able to perform, so we closed the night with UUVVWWZ, one of the most heralded new bands around. imagine Karen O fronting an art/noise band. . oh wait she does. well this band don't take themselves too seriously and they are all the more interesting for it.