It's been a long time since Bright Eyes last graced the UK; four years in fact since the American group were over here promoting their ninth album, Cassadaga. We haven't been completely left without their presence as leader of the pack, Conor Oberst has performed for us Brits with his other projects: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band and 'supergroup' Monsters of Folk. This was in-between Conor's busy schedule that includes political rants and running record label, Team Love.

The release of their tenth, and what is believed to be the final album, The People's Key on Valentines Day was celebrated with a gig at the intimate London venue Scala. Tickets for the gig were snapped up within minutes by the loyal following who were treated to a special support slot by Cursive's Tim Kasher.

Excitement swept across the packed venue as the introduction from The People's Key played over the speakers with the voice of Danny Brewer which was then taken over by the new look Conor Oberst. The pasty white face and the skeleton frame was swapped with a healthy glow and a grown-up's body, dressed in a shirt and slim-fitting jeans, his fringe once again covered his eyes. A two hour set was a triumphant return for the band who Conor fronted which spells on guitar and piano as well as controlling the stage when he was instrument-less. Backed by the two other full time members Mike Moggis and Nate Walcott as well as four others who all swapped jobs throughout. Along with two guitars there were often two-drummers (a bit like Slipknot, in a way...) that gave a huge sound to fill the Kings Cross venue.

Material taken from all era's of the extensive back catalogue featured including fan-favourites and some rare outings. It started off strong, after two songs from the new album some 'classics' were delivered with a fresh direction and received like an old friend. 'Lover I Don't Have To Love' from Lifted..., 'We Are No Where And It's Now' and 'Old Soul Song' , both from I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, remind you how talented this band really is. As with the happier sounds from the new album, the mood on stage was similar as Conor chatted in-between songs, mostly Valentines related, the bands sound engineer encouraged the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to Conor who turned 31 the following day.

Seven songs from The People's Key were performed and hearing them live really brought them to life and they connected much better. The crowd sang every word throughout but it was the older songs such as 'Bowl Of Oranges', 'Something Vague' and 'Road To Joy' that received the warmest reception. The band left the stage to return with flowers that were given out to members of the front row before a four song encore that included 'Poison Oak', the highlight from the evening. The night ended with The People's Key closing number, 'One For You, One For Me' and left the crowd with a long wait for their summer return.