Oftentimes, side projects and collaborations just sound like extensions of each person’s main project. That is not the case with Better Oblivion Community Center — the amazing collaboration between Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers.
They took one of their final shows to The Wiltern on Friday night (they would close out this tour at Outside Lands and an SF date that same weekend). I gotta say, I am not the biggest fan of The Wiltern. If you don’t get there on the early side, you get stuck with a shitty vantage point looking at the back of people’s heads. Get there early if it is a show you really want to see. Luckily, I got taken into the pit about halfway through this one and was able to enjoy myself.
Better Oblivion Community Center is far more rocking than anything either Oberst or Bridgers does with their main projects. They also brought a different vibe to favorites from each of their respective back catalogs. My favorite was how “Scott Street” sounded (and their cover of The Killers’ “Human”). Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner joined on stage for this and featured a dope harmonica solo from Oberst.
A highlight was also Phoebe telling the story about how they were eating somewhere and some guy that is obsessed with Conor’s music was talking about how he doesn’t use a lot of chords, not realizing Conor was sitting right there.
Hopefully we get more than one album out of this project — the chemistry between Oberst and Bridgers is undeniable.
Photos by Tim Aarons