Oberst Sidesteps Sadness for PunkHeavily sarcastic and verily rambunctious, Omaha-based quintent Desaparecidos shook the Uptown Theater stage with its October 21st show. Frontman Conor Oberst demonstrated his versatility as a musician, powering through a punk-rock set and living up to his Rolling Stones nickname, “Rock’s prodigy”.
At 9:00 pm, overhead lights honed to the center of the stage while filler music waned. The audience blurred into an eager mass; a collective hush, phone cameras at the ready, anticipation. A look around descried that even the mezzanine stoics gripped the railing with white knuckles. Desaparecidos walked in from backstage and all softness took flight. No introductions were necessary and no talking was had. Only the uproarious clamor of the sycophantic crowd could be heard. The members assumed their respective instruments, cast arcane looks at one another, and immediately set to work .
Okay, everyone has heard of bands sounding great in recording and leaving whatever to be desired in concert. This is a let-down for people who have to come to terms with their favorite bands using editing and, like, black magic to produce the sounds they know and love. Desaparecidos does not fall into this category of disenchantment. The live music they play lacks nothing and gains tremendous energy in the showmanship of every member. I expected the stage to cave from the stomping and thrashing about from Oberst, bassist Landon Hedges, and lead guitarist/songwriter Denver Dallas. Indignant and with an ostensible disdain for money (or, at least, human obsession with it), Conor Oberst spit and screamed Desaparecidos’s politically-charged lyrics with back up vocals from all members. And the music itself embodies this synchronized angst.
Desaparecidos music is comprised of two guitars, a bass guitar, Matt Baum on the drums, and Ian McElroy on keyboard. The band comradery is apparent in both interaction and sound, commenting on and hassling each other between songs and coinciding perfectly during them. Baum’s shirt, encouraging glue sniffing, gave away his comedic role and prefaced his bawdy interplay with the crowd. McElroy plugged at his keys and continuously riled the crowd with his god-like hair flips. And one of the coolest live addition to Desaparecidos’s music was the vintage recordings he cued before a handful of the songs.
When the show ended, Desaparecidos left the stage as nonchalantly as they took it. Immediately, pleads for an encore rose from the audience. Oberst-hungry fans shouted until he had no choice but to lead his band to the stage once again for three more songs.
Desaparecidos put on a remarkable performace. Be at their upcoming shows and you could be the next lucky fan Conor Oberst decides to stage dive onto.