Conor Oberst Koko, Camden, London

There’s probably plenty to be made of noted agnostic Conor Oberst
playing a show in a cathedral,

and there’s certainly a degree of neutrality to its suitability as a live venue,

the beautiful surroundings and impressive acoustics usually cancelled out by the poor sightlines that the building’s intimidating pillars guarantee for large swathes of those gathered.

That this show is a sell-out, unlike Oberst last solo performance in
Manchester, six years ago,

in a similarly-sized room, is perhaps Reviews / Live indicative of the upswing he currently finds himself on, professionally at least – ‘Upside Down Mountain’,

released back in May, is his finest full-length in quite a while. Backed
by Dawes, who open proceedings with an uninspiring set of their own,Oberst

Oberst brings a thrilling urgency to a slew of new cuts, with opener ‘Time
Forgot’ suddenly a rollicking affair and ‘Zigzagging Toward the Light’ a
touch moodier than its light, airy studio counterpart.Oberst

change so frequently that he has more faces than the cathedral’s
clock tower, the smartness of his current haircut and blue blazer is
offset by a rough beard that suggests he forgot to bring a razor on tour.Oberst

Similarly, he blends the new material with classic Bright Eyes tracks
intelligently tonight; rather than just throwing in the fan favourites,

he mixes jauntier efforts that match the upbeat sound of ‘Upside Down
Mountain’ – ‘No One Would Riot for Less’,

‘Old Soul Song’ – with moments of tender poignancy that the environment positively demands, with ‘Poison Oak’ and ‘Lua’ delivered gorgeously late on.

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