Bright Eyes w/ Hurray For the Riff Raff• June 28, 2022• The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Mallorie Lerman
Salt Lake City never ceases to amaze me with how many different venues and shows one can find on any given summer night. This Tuesday night I had the opportunity to check out another venue that was totally new to me. Conveniently located right next to the Traxx stop at North Temple, The Union Event Center hosted Bright Eyes with Hurray For The Riff Raff. Not knowing exactly where the venue was without looking down at my phone, I spotted someone wearing a Bright Eyes baseball tee. I could tell they had some loyal and excited fans. I followed a group of people from the parking lot to the ticket line.
After I entered the venue I weaved my way between the lines of people waiting for drinks. I found my way up to the railing. Once my eyes adjusted from the outside light, I could tell there were quite a bit of people that showed up for these artists. They were more than ready for the show to start.
Hurray For the Riff Raff
Hurray For the Riff Raff, led by Alynda Sagarra took the stage at The Union as the opening artist. Having never heard this particular artist before, I found myself easily swaying to their sound. They performed some songs from their latest album, LIFE ON EARTH, which was released earlier this year. I could hear the love and appreciation of the newer songs by the way the audience reacted when each song was done. I loved their stage presence and the soft yet powerful tone of their voice. Towards the end of the set, they hyped up the crowd telling us “we got one more song for ya!”. Hurray For the Riff Raff ended their set with their song “Rosemary”. I really enjoyed their use of brass sounds in this one! They were an amazing opener and showcased immense talent before the stage was prepared for Bright Eyes.
After Hurray For The Riff Raff was finished, I could tell there were a lot more people in the venue than when I had first arrived. Being on the shorter side, it’s sometimes a challenge being able to see the artists. I was so glad I already had a spot up by the guard rail. It was so great to have a clear vantage point. The railing was getting increasingly crowded with excited and eager fans waiting for Bright Eyes to come on. Everyone went wild when the orchestra ensemble went on stage and took their places.
After a brief pause and some serious suspense, the band members of Bright Eyes came on stage. Everyone in the venue went absolutely nuts! Frontman Conor Oberst graciously greeted everyone in the venue and thanked everyone for being there. Bright Eyes started their electrifying set with “Dance and Sing”. Setting the tone for their performance, I found myself bouncing to the beat as Conor sang “Now all i can do is just dance on through”. Bright Eyes has been a well known name in the Indie scene since the early 00s. The reaction from the audience was explosive. Conor took a break from facing the audience and danced freely during this opening song.
Coming from their album in 2020, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, Bright Eyes showcased some of their newer material after coming back from a 9 year hiatus. Next, they threw it back to their 2002 album with their classic song “Lover I Don’t Have to Love”. I could hear the excitement of the crowd for this older song as Conor sat down at the piano to play and sing. They continued with a song from that same album, LIFTED (or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground), with “Bowl of Oranges”. I really loved the easy going and bouncy vibe of this one! The crowd around me was screaming back the lyrics to Bright Eyes.
The atmosphere of this show was amazing! Looking around, I spotted the person in the Bright Eyes baseball tee with his hands in the air, just exuding happiness at being at this show. Conor at one point in the night took the time to thank his loyal fans for being there. He said that they had put out a record in 2020. “Best year to put out an album…we had BIG PLANS but it didn’t all workout,” he said. Telling the audience how they were very grateful to be there! I knew the fans of Bright Eyes were just as thankful judging by how the applause went on and on after each one of their songs!