It’s been a while since we heard from one of the most important indie bands of the 2000s but finally, after almost a decade-long hiatus, Bright Eyes are back. 2020 will not only bring them around the world for an extensive tour, the trio have also worked on new material in the studio. On August 15 they’ll play long-time favorites and perhaps new stuff at Way Out West.
More than twenty years ago, Bright Eyes was formed in Omaha, Nebraska, by frontman Conor Oberst. Eventually Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott joined as steady members of the band who for a long time was closely associated with the record label Saddle Creek. With a distinctive mix of indie, folk, emo and punk, Bright Eyes gained a large and devoted following of fans through albums such as Fevers and Mirrors (2000), Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002), I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning (2005), Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (2005), Cassadaga (2007) and, the latest one, The People’s Key (2011), and they were influential too. First Aid Kit said about Bright Eyes that “they were the reason we started to make this kind of music in the first place”.
Rock’s savior? That may well be the case. Regardless, Sam Fender is on a roll right now. On last year’s debut album Hypersonic Missiles, the twenty-five-year-old Brit delivered his music with a thunderous desperation on par with Born to Run. This is a classic rock artist whose emotional small-town anthems is characterized by bursts of electricity, an almost unreal intensity and a pulsating attack. You should probably be prepared to lose yourself for a while during his performance at Way Out West.
Sam Fender, who grew up in North Shields in the northeast of England, won the Brit Awards Critics’ Choice in 2019 (among previous winners you’ll find names such as Adele, Florence And The Machine and Jorja Smith), has been to tea at Elton John’s, counts Stormzy as a fan and was invited to open for Bob Dylan and Neil Young at their co-headline in Hyde Park last summer. Many have hopes and expectations of Sam Fender, the singer seems to embody something the audience have waited for. Or, as Alexis Petridis wrote about Hypersonic Missiles in The Guardian: ”It feels like something mainstream rock music hasn’t dished up in a long time: an album that sounds not just like a hit, but a loud announcement of a striking talent with the space and potential to mature and develop.”
On March 1st the 3-day ticket price will go up. Make sure to get your tickets before!