Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst (looking like Tobey Maguire, in his new bowl cut) and his band Desaparecidos were loud and political at First Avenue on Wednesday. They opened a blistering hour-long concert with two newish singles -- “Left is Right,” an Occupy movement anthem, and “Underground.” Other loud fast (and short) tunes touched on immigration (“Marikkkopa”), the jaded music industry (“Backsell”) and the plight of the minimum-wage worker (“Anonymous”).
News of local interest: Oberst said the band had spent the past 10 days near Battle Lake, Minnesota, working on four new songs.
“I’ve never spent this much time in Minnesota; it’s beautiful here,” he said. The crowd didn’t get to hear any of the new songs, as they weren’t ready yet, Oberst said. He praised the Battle Lake restaurant Stella’s, and the restaurant owners were at the concert, reportedly showing photos of them with Oberst and talking about several nights they all spent in a local karaoke bar.
They tore through 15 songs, seven from their only full-length, 2002’s “Read Music/Speak English,” including “Mall of America” and “Greater Omaha.” The 5-piece band -- Landon Hedges (bass and vocals), Matt Baum (big-ass drums), Denver Dalley (hair-flippin’ and guitar) and Ian McElroy (keyboards) -- sounded well-rehearsed and cracklin’, especially for a group that has spent so much time apart as Oberst has pursued his various side-projects.
In just over an hour onstage, Oberst name-checked Julian Assange and the Minnesota State Fair, decried the Obama administration’s zealous pursuit of national-security leakers, and said “there’s not much music in the music business, it’s mostly business.”
Here’s what Desaparecidos played:
Left Is Right, Underground Man, Happiest Place on Earth, Manana, Financial Planning, Mall of America, Backsell, Damaged Goods, Camila, Survival, $$$, Greater Omaha, MariKKKopa, Anonymous, Hole in One.
For Leslie Plesser's show photos, go here.
Stream "Anonymous" and other songs here.