A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to help NPR Music shoot the Desaparecidos show at the Bushwick DIY venue Shea Stadium here in Brooklyn. The political punk band is fronted by Conor Oberst — known best as the folk and indie rock songwriter and Bright Eyes mastermind — put on a wild and frenzied show full of moshing and fist-pumping songs that pack a punch. Check out my short essay about the band and the show — and check out the insane video above!
It’s wild to think that Bright Eyes’ last, and eighth album, 2011’s masterful The People’s Key, was released when frontman Conor Oberst was then just 31. While still considerably younger than many of his peers that blossomed at the same time in the mid-2000s, the prodigiously talented songwriter has been cranking out confessional songs riddled with internal angst and self-doubt since his teens. But with The People’s Key, Oberst finally embraced an extroverted rockstar persona (well, for him, anyway), and an outward-looking viewpoint, pondering big metaphysical ideas about compassion in a complicated world, and humanity’s place in the wider universe. A sonically captivating, emotionally moving record, it felt like a culmination, and honestly, a celebratory farewell.
Luckily it was not a true goodbye: Here we are, three years later, and Conor Oberst is back, albeit sans the Bright Eyes moniker, with his latest, Upside Down Mountain.