Conor Oberst and Dawes Throw Record-Release Party

May 21st, 2014

Conor Oberst/Dawes – Rough Trade NYC – May 20, 2014

Conor Oberst/Dawes – Rough Trade NYC – May 20, 2014
The inspired pairing of Conor Oberst and Dawes, who have teamed up on tour in support of Oberst’s latest offering, Upside Down Mountain, threw a sold-old record-release party last night at Rough Trade NYC, a lively show full of mutual admiration and camaraderie, replete with a multitude of intra-band fist bumps. New songs like “Double Life” and “Time Forgot” cover Oberst’s signature introspective lyrical territory, and although the climax of “Desert Island Questionnaire” last night reminded us that Oberst likes to get loud and aggressive too, Upside Down Mountain is primarily a gentle, subtle album.

Dawes delivered a solid opening set of their own before beautifully fleshing out Oberst’s songs, lending a warm and roots-y vibe with occasional twang, and more than kept up as Oberst indulged in those louder moments. With a catalog as large and prolific as Oberst’s, having recorded and released music for more than two decades of his young life, he has the ability to curate a unique live experience by pairing new material with complementary songs from his long list of older work.

Last night, Oberst tapped into our collective nostalgia with “Hit the Switch,” “Old Soul Song” and “We Are Nowhere and It’s Now,” songs that were all released nearly 10 years ago, during a period of songwriting that contained an intimacy much like that found on Upside Down Mountain. A true celebration with his new friends onstage and old friends in the crowd, Oberst seemed happy and grateful to introduce his new collection of songs, and we were certainly happy to receive them. —Alena Kastin

Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin |

(Conor Oberst and Dawes play SummerStage on 7/29.)