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_Shane Kielion married his high school sweetheart last year. His wife, April, had their first child, a son, Monday. Father and son will never meet. Kielion died Monday in combat in Iraq. A family friend thought the Marine corporal died in Fallujah, which would make him the second Nebraskan to die in the intense battle for control of the Iraqi city.
_ So reads today's Omaha Metro.
Over in London, every American student avoiding the trivialities of national service or football is standing, jaw to the floor, in a quietness of such mesmerising appreciation, that you would think the London Mute Society was holding a 60 minute silence. Omaha's favourite son, Conor Oberst is on stage playing a song he wrote today on the ferry. "When the president talks to god/Which one plays bad cop?" Far deeper than any protest song, you can feel the spite splatter off the stage Like most of Oberst's triumphs, it's his lyrical intelligence and beautifully dark wit that invokes rapturous reactions such as this to his musical spoken words.
The magical funfare of his band are nowhere to be seen this evening. Although we long for another glint of the harp that christened our Friday morning at Glastonbury, his poetry with finger plucked acoustic accompaniement holds stage on its own. His small town, country warble wanders off at the mid range and comes good at the high notes. His grasp of light and shade is quite remarkable, as light strumming turns violent and warlike, and while the stories and observations stray from whispers into aching screams. He pupeteers the show with such mastery as to make you think it's just one fucked up little indie kid with a guitar.
But while venom and acetic reflection surely form the centre of Oberst's world, and thus a suitable stereotype for casual dismissal, the fairytale innocence of pieces like his 'kids song', 'Blue' recall a simple timelessness that one thinks could never be exhumed from the seventies. He's yet to find the melodic spark that led Neil Young to the likes of After The Goldrush, but Conor looks set to find his own pot of gold pretty soon.
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