Desaparecidos at First Avenue, 8/28/13
|Photo By Erik Hess|
With Birthday Suits
First Avenue, Minneapolis
August 28, 2013
Over the years, it has become quite obvious that Conor Oberst loves playing in Minneapolis. He has strong ties to the city through his one-time tour manager (and former 400 Bar owner) Bill Sullivan, and each riveting show he puts on here only strengthens that bond. And that Minnesota connection has tightened after Oberst revealed that he and his fellow Desaparecidos just spent ten relaxing, productive days in the Battle Lake area writing and recording new material.
Sadly, none of those new songs were quite road ready for the band's explosive 65-minute set at First Avenue Wednesday night, but the rest of their spirited material proved to be more than enough, as the quintet delivered a potent, noisy performance that got the pit churning and the band smiling in satisfaction.
The band took to the stage to a bloviated propaganda-filled speech from Ted Nugent, which gradually gave way to The A-Team theme song, before the band kicked in to the highly-charged opener, "Left is Right." The set was taut and tension fueled straight from the start, with any rust the band displayed at their comeback show at the 400 Bar clearly shaken off by now.
"Thank you so much, Minneapolis. It's so God damn good to be here," Oberst said energetically before he lead the band through a fiery new song, "The Underground Man," which the group just released on a 7-inch. It was a blistering start to the set, and the band never really let up once, charging from one track to the next with only random, politically charged spoken-word pieces serving as introductions to the songs.
|Photos By Erik Hess|
"The Happiest Place on Earth" and "Mañana" both churned with a raw intensity, and the crowd started to get roiled up by the impassioned punk numbers. "This is for everyone out there who had to smash their piggy bank to fix their car or pay for their surgery. It goes like this, son," Oberst sneered, before the band launched into a volatile take on "Man and Wife, the Former (Financial Planning)," which clearly resonated with the frustrated youth who filled the club.
Conor then gave a nod to his longtime cohorts in Minneapolis -- "This one goes out to Billy and Joe" -- before launching into the acerbic anti-consumer screed, "Mall of America," which rang true to an audience who have to live near the towering shadow of that excessive retail monolith.
"This one's about the music business. There's not much music in the music business," Oberst explained incisively. "It's mostly just business." With that, the band tore into a raucous version of "Backsell" which really set the place off. A rousing, anthemic take on "Man and Wife, the Latter (Damaged Goods)" proved to be one of the best moments of the night, with the crisp, bristling guitar riff building to a boisterous release in the chorus, as the crowd and the band all collectively lost themselves in the spirit of the song.
|Photos By Erik Hess|
"We'd like to say thank you to the Birthday Suits for playing with us," Oberst stated warmly. "Weren't they incredible? Holy shit! This is a love song for a communist." A dynamic, forceful take on "Te Amo Camila Vallejo" and the Landon Hedges-led "Survival of the Fittest/It's a Jungle Out There" quickly followed, with the band never once letting up on the gas during their breakneck set and the crowd growing more untamed as the night wore on.