Local Current Blog

Review and photos: Better Oblivion Community Center make their Minneapolis debut at First Avenue

Phoebe Bridgers (left) and Conor Oberst (right) of Better Oblivion Community Center at First Avenue on March 22, 2019. All photos by Zoe Prinds-Flash for MPR.

The Better Oblivion Community Center opened its doors for one night in Minneapolis, and a sold-out crowd rushed in.

Better Oblivion Community Center is a collaboration between Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, both successful rock artists in their own right. Their debut self-titled came out in January of this year. This project isn’t Bridgers’ first supergroup experience; she’s coming off the heels of the release of self-titled EP Boygenius, a collaboration between Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker.

At First Avenue last night, Bridgers and Oberst started off with their song “My City,” backed by bass, keys, drums and a third guitar (played by opening act Christian Lee Hutson). The band stood in front of a painting of a community center with the words “it will end in tears” written over the door.

The band transitioned between songs fairly quickly, with very little talking between songs. They did provide a variety of energies. Songs that aren’t particularly peppy on the album — “Forest Lawn,” for example — took on a new life on stage. Songs that Bridgers kicked off often silenced the room, her voice causing people to sway.

During “Exception to the Rule,” a single beach chair was brought out, and Bridgers and Oberst spent a moment trying to get the other to take the chair. Oberst ultimately sat in the chair and Bridgers on the floor.

Later, Oberst played a sped-up cover of Bridgers’s song “Funeral.”

After about a dozen songs, the group left the stage to loud applause, only to quickly return for a three-song encore. They wrapped up with their album closer, “Dominos.”

The opening acts set up for the headliners perfectly. Christian Lee Hutson opened up the show with lovely melodic guitar picking. Lala Lala, a band from Chicago, went second and really upped the energy. They covered “Slip Away” by Perfume Genius.

All photos by Zoe Prinds-Flash for MPR:

Better Oblivion Community Center

Phoebe Bridgers (left) and Conor Oberst (right) of Better Oblivion Community Center at First Avenue on March 22, 2019 (Zoe Prinds-Flash for MPR)

Christian Lee Hutson

Lala Lala