02.26.13 | Desparecidos | Webster Hall

In what seems to be becoming a trend, Desparecidos reunited to play a show more than 10 years after they came and went from the music scene in 2001-2002. CMJ provides a good analogy in their review of this show: "Conor Oberst is to indie-rock fans in their late 20s, early 30s, as Justin Bieber is to tween pop enthusiasts." I remember how seriously everyone took him to be and how frustrated I was that when he sang he always sounded like he was simultaneously slitting his wrists. 10 years later, Oberst has decided to put that fervent earnestness to better use, bringing attention to the case of U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, who was involved in Wikileaks.

At times his commentary was a little too preachy for me, and his sarcasm was tinged with pessimism. I found it ironic that he was singing songs about American capitalism when he himself is really no different than the rich white folks he criticizes. But taking away the propaganda in the music and just listening to the music, I found the show to be thoroughly entertaining. It was relieving to see the audience still engage as enthusiastically as they did 10 years ago, though perhaps moving in the moshpit somewhat less lithely.

It's not clear if this revival indicates anything more than just a tour, but what's clear is that Oberst is still relevant, long after the emo-kids have grown up.

Further Reading:
New York Times Review
CMJ.com Review
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