Monday, December 27, 2010

Deerhunter at the Music Box, 11/1/10

I'm always excited to hear new material from a band I love, especially if I've recently become obsessed with an album.  Sometimes, though, that newness can overwhelm a band to a degree, messing with the flow of their show.  That definitely happened to Deerhunter at the former Fonda.

That's not to say that they weren't good; I really enjoyed it, and there were moments of greatness.  It just felt that they were still figuring out how best to incorporate the songs from new record Halcyon Digest into the live show.  Opening with "Desire Lines," for instance, feels like a questionable decision.  Though it's one of the best songs on the album, its dirgey nature, particularly the three minute repetitive outro, doesn't strike me as the ideal way to open a set--if anything, I'd have made it the closer.  It took until the third song, "Never Stops" for the show to feel like it was in a groove, but then a weird rendition of "Rainwater Cassette Exchange" threw it off its game again.

"Revival" lived up to its name, kick-starting the best part of the set, a run that included "Fountain Stairs" and peaked with a truly epic version of "Nothing Ever Happened," a song that features singer/guitarist Bradford Cox stretching out his soloing skills to killer effect.  Unfortunately, the momentum didn't last through the encore, as the band opted for an older, gloomier track in "Spring Hall Convert," before finally finishing on a relative high note.  I hate to sound like I'm complaining too much (especially when I normally fall over myself in an attempt to praise), but it really was an up and down performance.  The highs were worth it, but I know Deerhunter can be better.

Set List: Desire Lines / Hazel St. / Never Stops / Memory Boy / Rainwater Cassette Exchange / Don't Cry / Revival / Little Kids / Fountain Stairs / Nothing Ever Happened / Helicopter / He Would Have Laughed

Encore: Spring Hall Convert / Cover Me (Slowly)--->Agoraphobia / Fluorescent Grey

Photo by Andrew Youssef

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