Jonathan Wilson & Conor Oberst
Tuesday, September 30th, Showbox at the Market in Seattle, Washington
From a strictly musical standpoint, Jonathan Wilson has to be one of the most surreal experiences a person can intake. Each song is a winding journey that feel like 4 songs in one. He’s equal parts Neil Young and Pink Floyd. The Showbox turned into some desert refuge. He did not treat his set like most openers would. He played for over an hour in complete control with long twisting jams that were for clearly his amusement. The crowd was mostly there for Conor Oberst, but you could get the sense a lot of fans left shell shocked as to who the hell this hippie shredder was. Wilson has two incredible solo records out (Gentle Spirit & Fanfare), but garners most attention for his producing abilities. He has produced albums and songs for the likes of Dawes, Father John Misty, Jenny O, Lana Del Rey, Oberst’s new record, Upside Down Mountain and others from his home studio in Laurel Canyon. For perhaps the most enjoyable 53 minutes captured in video, check out this set he performed for KEXP in Seattle last year.
After Wilson’s opening set, he came back to play guitar the headliner, Conor Oberst. Never having been on board with Bright Eyes and looking at Oberst as a musical version of Todd from Wedding Crashers, the show was a welcoming surprise. You can understand why he ropes in a legion of loyal fans. His set was passionate and it seemed like he genuinely enjoys performing. The songs were tight and he mixed new and old favorites (from what I could gather). The stripped down part of the set where Conor sat at a keyboard backed only by the main keyboard player was the most emotional. He had the Shoxbox hanging on to every word coming from his strained voice. Then he picked up an electric guitar and got the place going for awhile. Couldn’t ask for a better Tuesday.