By Alexis Simpson
In 2012 Conor Oberst resurrected his political punk band, Desaparecidos, and brought them to Detroit last Sunday for a performance at The Majestic Theatre. The So So Glos out of Brooklyn opened, and garnered a mixed reception. The frontman was perhaps too talkative considering most of the crowd had probably never heard of his band. Usually a band has to earn the right to preach by allowing their music to gain attention before their words do. Luckily for The So So Glos, Conert Oberst jumped on to the stage near the end of their set to perform with them. Conor resembled an elfin, raven-haired Eminem in his navy hoodie as he sang along passionately with the So So Glos. Oberst’s voice sounded impressive, better than ever in fact! Due to his enthusiasm for the So So Glos, perhaps we shall give them another listen:)
The death of Lou Reed and political activism were the two themes of the night. Lou Reed was deservedly brought up often throughout the night as often as politics were. Oberst paid a passionate and fitting tribute to the artist. Conor Oberst’s passion is what makes him a standout. I once heard a story that years ago in Michigan, a Bright Eyes performance was cut short for one reason or another, which pissed off Oberst. He was so eager to perform for his fans that he stood on top of a van and gave the impromptu performance his all. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but it’s believable because of the intensity Oberst always brings to the stage.
Oberst seems to find Detroit interesting because of the problems he has heard about through the media. He uses this knowledge as a way to try to bond with his Detroit fans. During last year’s performance at the Majestic, a car had crashed into a building across the street and the area in front of The Majestic Theatre was aglow with the lights of around ten cop cars and an ambulance. Occurrences like these only help to reinforce Detroit’s image. Two Oberst performances ago, he played at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, so surely he must realize that “Detroit” isn’t all gloom and doom and that there can be quite a difference between socio-economic status of suburbanite and city-dweller, and that not all of us are suffering. Being able to properly identify and unite a crowd is probably one of the greatest challenges of a band geared towards political purposes.
Nevertheless, the Desaparecidos’ performance was on point, and we look forward to seeing them again at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans this week! Welcome back Desaparecidos-we look forward to even more new material!