PJ and I went to a Bright Eyes concert on Sunday in Columbus. We’ve been listening to their music for the past several weeks. We’d read various stories and reviews of their work (and about Conor Oberst in particular) for some time. I think PJ really got into them when he saw this video of theirs:

Anyone who’s seen Shortbus will recognize some of the people in the video. (John Cameron Mitchell directed both, of course.) It’s a great long song (PJ and I sing it to each other all the time, metaphorically speaking), and a perfect video. He had me watch it one day, and I immediately shared his love for it and for Bright Eyes (PJ has always had great taste in music).

So, on Sunday we drove to Columbus, ate dinner at our favorite restaurant, Haiku, and then drove over to the Wexner Center for the concert. There were two opening acts. The first was Oakley Hall. I’d never heard of them before, but I thought they were fine. Here’s a little taste of their music:

They were followed by Gillian Welch, who we love. We heard them — Gillian Welch and David Rawlings — before at the Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville. Here’s a sample of their music, one of their best songs, “Time (The Revelator)”:

They did a great version of “Jackson,” which was featured prominently in Walk the Line.

Bright Eyes started to play at about 10:10, which was a little late for us, since we’re in our late mid-thirties and had an hour-and-a-half drive back to Athens afterwards. Their set started with “Clairaudients.” Here’s a Youtube clip of the song from the concert date just before ours:

What you don’t get from this clip is how loud the music was. PJ and I were in the middle left-hand side of the upper balcony (so far away), and yet the music vibrated through ours bodies as if we were standing next to a huge speaker. It was so loud that it made my nose hairs tickle!

I loved it. I thought it was great — not only did you hear the music, but you felt it in a way that you almost never get a chance to feel. It was a great start to the set.

They also played “First Day of My Life,” though they sped it up and played it louder than the original version. Indeed, while they come across as a somewhat quiet and introspective band on their albums, their concert was total rock. Loud, vibrating, almost deafening.

We had to leave a little after 11, since we had the long drive back and work the next morning. I definitely enjoyed the concert — and all the emo boys (I totally wish PJ were emo, though many of them were too skinny for my tastes!). I would love to see the band again sometime.