Bright Eyes & Maya Hawke at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee – Photos and Review

Photos and Review by Stephen Bloch

On Wednesday evening, the historic Pabst Theater played host to Omaha, Nebraska’s Bright Eyes for the first show of their 2023, eigh- city tour.  This was the seventh visit made by band since 2000, and the 4th time at The Pabst.  It was abundantly clear that Oberst and his band mates love the Midwest vibe in Milwaukee and the hospitality of The Pabst Theater Group. He raved about how well they took care of everyone on stage and off for the whole day.  It’s become all too common to hear such things from visitors. 

This fledgling tour is really a fusion of their entire catalog, with the newest material coming from their 2020 release Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, but relying much more heavily on their earlier material from I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. They did open the show with the track An Attempt to “Tip the Scales” from their 2000 release, Fevers and Mirrors.  Show highlights included “Another Travelin’ Song”, “Poison Oak”, and “Road to Joy”.  Bright Eyes seems to have a firm grip on their indie vibe while also capturing a deeply folk oriented sound. This makes for an eclectic crowd for sure! In addition to their own stellar tunes, they added a fantastic cover, Gillian Welch’s “Wrecking Ball”. 

The opening act for the evening was Maya Hawke.   Based upon the nearly full theater for the opener, many were in attendance as much for her set as for Bright Eyes. Patrons weren’t just there because of her role in Stranger Things, as she performed a lush and poetic 40 minute set, playing tracks from her 2022 release MOSS as well as debuting three previously unheard tracks.  She charmed the audience with her soft spoken and cerebral demeanor.

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