Following the punk aesthetic – Desaparecidos at the Button Factory

Desparecidos the band

So how did I unexpectedly end up buying tickets to see a band I hardly knew and whose name I couldn’t pronounce? Why, the drummer invited me of course – along with a thousand other punters who had gone to see Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes, aka the frontman of Desaparecidos, the band in question) play a very grown-up show in the National Concert Hall last Tuesday.

“Nobody has bought any fucking tickets for our show in the Button Factory. Seriously,” the drummer told the NCH audience while Conor took a brief break.

The bit of blatant self-promotion worked – and not just on me. The Button Factory was fairly packed for the Thursday gig.

Desaparecidos are a post-hardcore, indie rock band from Omaha, Nebraska. “We’re from the United States of America,” Oberst added to their introduction – sarcastically, of course.

The name derives from the Spanish and Portuguese word for “disappeared ones” and refers to left-wing activists who were captured by South American militant governments and then vanished without a trace.

Conor Oberst’s songs have always had a political edge to them, except with Bright Eyes, his lyrics are more introverted and mournful. With Desaparecidos, Oberst’s words take on a more aggressive manifestation.

Punky and hardcore, Desaparecidos are a raggle-taggle live band. They play hard and fast, generating a fever of adolescent excitement.

They sounded particularly grungey throughout their Dublin debut, probably on account of the fact that they had only rehearsed for the first time in a long time before the show – they hired the Button Factory the day before to work out the kinks.

In accordance with the punk aesthetic, the band does not conform to the traditions of a rock band. There was no encore. They simply came, saw and conquered the crowd in a snappy one-hour set.

Desaparecidos may have missed out on turning into a big rock band when Oberst parted ways in 2002 to become a teenage icon with Bright Eyes, but they are certainly making up for lost time since reuniting in 2012.

A thrilling and refreshing live experience – I feel like a born-again adolescent, even if I’m only 20 years old.

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