With a nearly thirteen year gap between their two records “Read Music/Speak Spanish” and “Payola”, Desaparecidos was resurrected back in 2012, releasing only a few singles before their full-length sophomore record. Known for his main work with Bright Eyes, vocalist and guitarist Conor Oberst put the group on hold for the main project as well as, a myriad of other solo efforts. Having just wrapped up another solo tour for his solo album “Upside Down Mountain”, the singer took his post-hardcore outfit back on the road.
The first act of the night was Harlem trio The Bandroidz whose eclectic and aggressive fusion of punk and reggae made their sound all the more authentic to their highly political themes of their lyrics. With titles like “Don’t Be a New York Fool” the band takes a very charged stance at social issues like gentrification and gun issues that drive close to home for the group.
Following them was downtown Brooklyn group The So So Glos. Loaded with infectiously technical riffs and pop sensibilities rounded out by their penchant for dissonance, the quintet ripped through an energetic set. With the sonic driving force of the three brothers Ryan and Alex Levine, and half brother Zach Staggers, the group also brought lead guitarist Matt Elkin who shreds effortlessly through each track. Towards the end of the set, the band brought out Conor Oberst to sing on their track “Island Ridin”. In a similar vein to the other acts of the night, The So So Glos have an underlying social message in their songs with themes like A.D.D or even the closing track of their set which decried the accessibility that people have to spew hate over social media.
Desaparecidos took the stage to the sound of elegant strings, juxtaposing the dynamics of the rest of the night. Opening with “Left Is Right” off of their latest record, the band set the tone for the show with tracks off of “Payola” and tossing in a few songs off of “Read Music/Speak Spanish” here and there. However, with much of their freshman record criticized for its heavy political statements but lack of sharpness to political issues at the time, it’s understandable that with over a decade between them and that record, Oberst’s opinions over the lyrics may have changed with age. Ironically, in the balcony the screens were projecting the Fox News Republican debate as Oberst said bluntly “Now we have one of em running for president who looks like he has a dead rat on his head” before going into their anti-corporate, anti-CEO track “Golden Parachutes.” In his newer tracks like “MariKKKopa” the singer takes jabs at institutionalized racism, showing that his understanding of racial injustice and hierarchy runs much deeper than on his older records
While the GA pit offered an interesting experience with a myriad of crowdsurfers and mosh pits, the balcony section saw appearances from local NYC musicians like Matt Hitt and Jack Ridley of the band Drowners, as well as, Saddle Creek member and former Rilo Kiley vocalist Jenny Lewis. Keeping in the spirit of the universality and kinship Oberst has with his associates, he brought out The So So Glos to sing on “Slacktivist” as they do on the record, as well as, The Bandroidz to sing on their cover of The Clash’s “Spanish Bombs.” Ending the night on two of their major tracks off “Read Music”, the sincere anthem of the worker “Mañana” and the anti-establishment “Greater Omaha” bookended Desa’s set and helped drive the message home.
The So So Glos
Left is Right
City on a Hill
Te Amo Camila
Survival of the Fittest/It’s a Jungle Out There
Hole In One
Spanish Bombs (The Clash cover)