Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band at the Bearsville Theater

I missed the two opening bands, but got to the Bearsville Theater just in time on Thursday night to stake out a spot in the audience as the sound engineers set up for Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band’s set.

Conor Oberst and his band play happy music. It makes you think of sunshine, and puppies. Okay, maybe not puppies… But listening does make you pretty cheerful, and the band sounded great on Thursday. I especially enjoyed Nate Walcott’s keyboard playing and hearing Taylor Hollingsworth on electric guitar, who played brilliantly (although I’m not too crazy about his singing). Also in The Mystic Valley Band are Nik Freitas on guitar, Macey Taylor on bass, and Jason Boesel on drums. As for Conor Oberst, during Thursday’s show he switched between acoustic and electric guitars. He danced around a lot, and because of that — in combination with how warm the room was and the heat from the stage lights — was drenched in sweat by the time the band played their fourth song. It was great to see them in a moderately small setting, and I feel as though I got the best of both worlds: Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band bring a part of that festival feel with them where they play, but I didn’t have to put up with the sometimes less than ideal outdoor festival conditions — such as rain and bugs! It was really crowded at the sold-out Bearsville show and, from what I could hear of scattered conversations by people in the audience, most were really, really big fans who follow him around from town to town and state to state (I had a good time, but I myself would not go out of my way to see the band again).

Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band played a set, took a five minute break (during which Conor changed into a dry shirt, hence the photos of him wearing two different ones), and came back for a second set. When Conor came back to the stage he told the audience, “We’re gonna play a bunch more for you. You can leave if you want to, it’s cool, if you have a sitter or something”, but no one left. The band only got hotter as the night went on, and played a number of songs (including “Air Mattress” and “Snake Hill”) in honor of The Felice Brothers, who later joined them onstage towards the end of the night. One song Conor dedicated specifically to Simone (who was the only Felice brother not there), saying, “It’s a dying philosophy, but we still adhere to it,” as he launched into “There’s Nothing That The Road Cannot Heal.” The Mystic Valley Band and The Felice Brothers played together to close the show with “I Don’t Want To Die (In The Hospital),” which was a nine minute and twenty five second long jam session (I know because I filmed it). Lights flashed, musicians danced, audience members jumped up and down, a couple of girls screamed hysterically — okay fine, they did that a lot throughout the evening — and with that the show came to an end.

Here are some videos:

Nikorette

Ten Women

Lenders In The Temple

I Got The Reason #2

White Shoes

I Don’t Want To Die (In The Hospital)

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