Better Oblivion Community Center @ Rockefeller 01.05.2019

Foto: Richard Ashton
The duo Better Oblivion Community Center consists of two artists you may have heard of before, but this time they are playing as one!

The songwriters’ chemistry on stage is undeniable, like that of two long-lost musical siblings.

The tradition of musical collaborations spans back decades, but in the past couple of years there have been hints that this may become a mainstay within certain musical circles. And what better example of that than Better Oblivion Community Center. The duo, consisting of Conor Oberst (known to many as Bright Eyes) and Phoebe Bridgers, met back in 2016 when Bridgers opened for Oberst in Los Angeles.

Since then, they have both been open admirers of each other’s work and have regularly played shows together until, finally, they joined forces for this project. The lauded songwriters began recording in LA last summer, shrouded in secrecy. After an influx of mysterious brochures and obscure flyers turning up in fans’ mailboxes, rumours began to spark before the pair announced what it was they were actually up to; Better Oblivion Community Center.

Bridgers and Oberst aren’t complete strangers when it comes to sharing the stage at Rockefeller. Back in January 2017 they graced Oslo with their presence. But on that particular evening, both artists would play independently of one another. Fast forward two years, numerous collaborations, and a newly released album, the pair take to the stage as one.

A good helping of covers

In a set made up mostly of tracks from their self-titled album, the songwriters’ chemistry on stage is undeniable, like that of two long-lost musical siblings. Even though the set lacked their solid cover of Daniel Johnston’s, “Devil Town”, which has become a regular in their live shows, they didn’t leave without intertwining a good helping of their own covers into the evening’s proceedings. Even spanning as a far as Bridgers’ own take on the Bright Eyes staple, “Lua”, which in my opinion was a thoroughly more enjoyable version of the original!

If you’re a fan of recent collaborations like Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett, and Bridgers’ other collaborative project, boygenius, BOCC are definitely worth a listen. And it begs the question; which musical alliance will follow?

Better Oblivion Community Center @ Rockefeller 01.05.19: 7.5/10

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