Desaparecidos delivered a politically charged performance at The Moon in Tallahassee, Fla,. Wednesday night.
Desaparecidos, a post-hardcore band fronted by Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst, is a band that many, this writer included, never expected to see performing again when they broke up in 2003, and Oberst’s primary act, Bright Eyes, took off.
Though the band only released one album, “Read Music/Speak Spanish,” the album has maintained a faithful listenership.
Desaparecidos expertly combines punk ethos lyrics with the controlled chaos and the divinely aggressive marriage of melody and shouts which best defines the post-hardcore genre. The album’s lyrics lampoon and confront issues such as inequality, rampant consumerism and aggressive militarism.
It’s worth noting that it was written prior to the 9/11 attacks, as this indicates a true passion rather than the reactionary partisanship parading as anti-war sentiment, which is all but quiet now in the music scene.
In a New York Time’s interview Oberst, who donated the maximum $2,300 to President Obama in 2008, as well as performed benefits for Obama, revealed he is upset the current drone policy.
“Obama increased drone strikes and targeted assassinations of American citizens,” he told me. “All the promises he made in the course of that 2008 election, all the things that I thought I heard him saying when I was standing there in the primaries in Iowa on a frozen morning listening to him speak, the person I thought I was hearing, is not the person that is running our government.”
Since reuniting last year Desaparecidos has released four new songs which focus on different issues:
“MariKKKopa,” which takes aim at the controversial Joe Arpaio, Arizona’s Maricopa County sheriff.
“Backsell,” which dashes music industry practices.
“The Left is Right,” which pays homage to the Occupy movement with it’s line “If one must die to save the 99, maybe it’s justified.”
And, lastly, “Anonymous,” which is in support of Bradly Manning and named after the hacker group of the same name
Before launching into “Anonymous” last night, Oberst spoke to the crowd in one of many tongue-in-cheek addresses:
“I recommend if you have any computer skills, what I recommend you to do is to break into any financial institution, and steal as much money as you possibly can, and to find any little, [expletive deleted] corrupt Florida congressman, I’m sure there’s many, hack into their emails, find out — find out about their mistresses, and then put that all out on the [expletive deleted] internet.”
The evening was one of catharsis for the politically frustrated, and likely one of much confusion for one Oberst fan girl I overheard say she was only here because she liked Bright Eyes, and had never heard Desaparecidos.
While Bright Eyes is not devoid of social commentary, Bright Eyes tends to ply the listener with it, where as Desaparecidos makes no qualms about sounding their seemingly barbaric yawp. Although, after listening to the album for 10 years I understand there is no barbarism attached. Calculated, thoughtful and impassioned conveyances of dis-contentedness should never be equated with barbarism.
Desaparecidos makes angry music, and if last night was any indication, that anger is more than matched by their professionalism.
The set list:
1. The Left is Right
2. The Happiest Place on Earth
3. Mall of America
5. Man and Wife, the Former (Financial Planning)
7. Greater Omaha
8. Survival of the Fittest/It’s a Jungle Out There
11. Man and Wife, the Latter (Damaged Goods)
13. Spanish Bombs [The Clash Cover]
14. Hole in One