Bright Eyes/Jim James/M. Ward
October 18, 2004 - The Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA
review by Ashley Graham
While Seattle's more dignified music fans were clearly down the street enjoying Tom Waits at the Paramount, Conor Oberst and company suffered through the yips and yells of the less civilized at the Moore.

The night of solo and collaborative performances began with singer/songwriter/amazing guitarist M. Ward, who played a few of his own songs, and included, as he termed it, an "old English love song," a subdued version of David Bowie's "Let's Dance."  Bright Eyes' Oberst joined him near the end of his set, before My Morning Jacket's Jim James stepped out and the three, along with producer Mike Morgis, began to play in a collaboration dubbed by James "The Monsters of Folk."

James played the frontman; making jokes about how long the band had been together and singing his heart out, while the other men provided laughter and backing, with Oberst slumped back in a chair plucking at a guitar and smiling for much of the "Monsters'' small inserted set.  James took over solo after a few songs before Oberst's portion began.

Though the night's most magical moments came when all four men were gracing the stage together, Oberst's set was thrilling.  He played a small set of his solo songs, beginning with "We're Nowhere and It's Now" and including "Waste of Paint" and his newer track "Lua," off of the upcoming LP "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning."  "Lua" is absolutely beautiful and was the clear highlight of the set.

When his cohorts rejoined him onstage, they collaborated on his "One Foot in Front of the Other," and he interjected his few political plugs stating in one moment; "If you like My Morning Jacket, if you like M. Ward, or Bright Eyes, and you want to show your appreciation, go out and vote for Kerry on November 2nd."

The non-stop set lasted three hours, and was enjoyable from start to finish.  The talent of these three performers is undeniable, and in their collaboration they become absolute musical magic.  It is a rarity for such great acts to come together in such a fashion, but when they do it is something to be seen.
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