Bright Eyes pulled out all the stops to deliver a full performance of “Dance and Sing” on Wednesday the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The track is from the band’s 2020 album In the weeds where the world once waswho rolling stone told listeners why frontman Conor Oberst “was one of the best singer-songwriters of the 2000s.”
Oberst, alongside longtime Bright Eyes members Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis, were backed by a large group of musicians, including a full string section and horn players, for the performance. Looking less like the mastermind of one of indie rock’s most beloved outfits and more like a disaffected Soundcloud rapper, Oberst swirled around the stage, hair obscuring his face, as he sang the introspective tune – which oozes type. sardonic pop culture references and cultural observations that defined the band’s output in the early 2000s.
“I’ve got a diamond cold heart and I’ve had it in spades / With the walkman fading like an audio slave,” Oberst sings. “It’s a self-induced crisis like a kid at a rave / Smeared in Day-Glo paint.”
The performance precedes the re-release of Bright Eyes’ first three albums – A collection of songs written and recorded from 1995 to 1997 (1998), let go of happiness (1998), and Fevers and Mirrors (2000) – as part of the band’s ambitious effort to reissue their entire catalog. Each reissue comes with a companion EP of album tracks and reimagined covers with guest appearances from artists such as Oberst’s Better Oblivion Community Center collaborator Phoebe Bridgers, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, songwriter- freelance performer Mr. Ward and Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond. Ahead of the releases, which will drop on May 27 via Dead Oceans, the band recently released their cover of “St. Ides Heaven,” on which Bridgers provides backing vocals.
“It’s a meaningful way to connect with the past that doesn’t feel totally nostalgic and indulgent,” Oberst said in a statement announcing the re-release project. “We take those songs and make them interesting to us again. I like this. I like a challenge. I like being forced to do something a little difficult, just to see if we can.
Bright Eyes will soon embark on an extensive tour from the United States to Europe, beginning May 19 in Oklahoma City and ending September 6 in Glasgow. The band are also set to perform at the ex-emo kid bait festival, When We Were Young, in Las Vegas in October.