Live: Deerhoof, Vintage Porn, Art Dancers, and Some Weird David Cross-Looking Dude

BROOKLYN BLAGER

Satomi unscrews her leg; inside there are flat patties

Deerhoof & Friends Bowery Ballroom January 30

Download: "Running Thoughts" Download: "Spirit Ditties of No Tone" Download: "Spiral Golden Town" Download: "Milk Man"

Via Jamie via Matt, apparently lots of SF performance art gigs turn into electric kool-aid pissing contests over who's the most "chill." Seems a slippery rubric, a little too feel good and everybody's above average for me, but if you wanna grab nuts we'll grab nuts: The David Cross-looking motherfucker with the guitar and the cut-out props and the "I have just one more song" which he said at least three times and the 16-year-olds brainwashed by "isn't he hilarious" audience participation--this was the most chill thing I've ever seen. And yes, I did see the Colburn films and the Ants in Pants spoken word and dance theatre or whatever group was gyrating in half-tandem to the sounds of dogs eating electricity.

Upcoming Events

As for Deerhoof, they're an OK band (I guess). Maybe it was an accident, maybe their tracksuits were drying out, but just saying, last night was their Bowery debut, and it was the first time I'd ever seen them wearing collared shirts--not sure I want to believe "American indie is aging" but maybe. Also maybe because they heard Bowie was there?

Hey, since Bowie got a mention for getting snubbed at the Arctic Monkeys show, this seems a good time to unveil a heretofore secret blogger cheatsheet used to determine how great a concert must have based on which celebrity rockers were in attendance. Don't tell the other blogs I told you this:

When David Bowie shows up: pretty awesome David Bowie + David Byrne: still pretty awesome David Bowie + David Byrne + Lou Reed: you are at the Donnas Lou Reed: backstage at the Donnas

Bowery soundtech spreads the mix out, really great separation, and in other words the exact opposite of what tends to work for Deerhoof live: huge swells of sound, not so much compressed as congealed and combobulated. Sorta makes sense why they liked the Northsix so much.

To compensate, Deerhoof just upped the contrast on the dynamics, both within the songs and the setlist period. The night had an arc--which you never see people talk about anymore--mostly because they weren't afraid to play out loud when they had to. Chris Cohen's solo pirate ditty "Odyssey" worked as well as the explosive "Wrong Time Capsule," pin-drop quiet for the verses. "The Last Trumpeter Swan" from Reveille, an 8-minute modern classical monster stuck in a crib, must have been the winner though, and most definitely for people who only know the band's latest LP.

At this point I don't know what I've written about Deerhoof yet and what I haven't, so apologies for repeating myself if that's the case next. When they came out for the encore and did "Bunny," one of their earliest songs, a live staple from their Shaggsy days when Saunier would have to jump out the set to tune Satomi's bass, the song played measuring stick for how far they've gone from that sound--when they were almost as much a performance troupe as the acts they had open for them last night. Not that Deerhoof's onstage shticks from before meant an uncomfortability with their songs, just that the show now is almost strictly musical, no whimsy to cut any losses. The opposite of chill, or just turned inside-out.

 


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >