don't you tell me how i feel.


deerly beloved by v
September 23, 2013, 7:27 am
Filed under: Shit I love, Shows | Tags: ,

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Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Deerhunter, fronted by the prolific Bradford Cox, at Webster Hall in New York. Admittedly, I’m a new-ish fan of the band, but my lack of familiarity with their back catalog didn’t dampen the experience.

While your typical concert follows a song-banter-song formula, there were hardly any silent moments in Deerhunter’s set; waves of feedback and noise linked one song to the next in an unbroken wash of sound. That, plus the light show that reduced the band to eerie yellow silhouettes, created a certain theatricality I hadn’t expected. Watching Cox perform, it also became clear that his vocal style is much more unusual than I’d ever noticed on the record — it’s more like a series of sibilant professions than it is singing in the classic sense, and I can’t think of anyone with a comparable delivery.

The set list leaned heavily on this year’s Monomania and 2010’s Halcyon Digest (the dreamy “Helicopter” was transcendent live), culminating in an encore that pulled three songs from the new record and found Cox shedding his mop-top Beatles wig during a frenzied guitar solo.

Less exciting were Crystal Stilts, a band I’ve been hearing about for years but never actually listened to. It’s possible I just missed out on their heyday (Frankie Rose used to drum for them, after all), but this was about as lackluster a performance as I could imagine — a friend compared it to driving through a school zone. No emotion, no movement, just an indifferent “thanks” at the end of the set. Note to band: If you don’t care, I won’t either.

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