Posts Tagged ‘ Deerhunter ’

[LIVE REVIEW] Deerhunter and Lower Dens at The Earl

None of my pictures will import for some reason, so I stole this one from my roommate. Thanks, Sarah.

My review of this past Sunday’s Deerhunter/Lower Dens show at The Earl is up over at Dead Journalist.  You can read it here.

This was my favorite Deerhunter show of the 5(?) that I have seen, but I was reluctant to lean too heavily on the superlatives in the review because I never saw any of the early, pre-Cryptograms club shows.  By the time I moved to Atlanta in 2009, they had already been a major indie act for a few years.  The first time I saw them was in 2007, in an outdoor space with probably 3,000 other people, and it honestly didn’t do much for me.  Neither did Cryptograms (although I think the Fluorescent Grey EP is their best release).  Their more ambient stuff never drew me in, which is strange because I’m typically a sucker for bands that strike the balance between ambient and rock that they went for on that album.

I’ve come to like them much more over time, and I think Halcyon Digest is their best album, but I don’t feel like I’m enough of a fan to make sweeping statements about their career.  Maybe things would be different if I had seen them on that first tour they did with Liars, or had I lived in Atlanta in their early club days.  As it is now, though, I’m just a moderate fan with deep respect for what they do.

I didn’t mention Lonnie Holly’s opening performance with Bradford and Cole in my review because I wasn’t there.  I was over at Small Reactions’ last-minute house show earlier, and Lower Dens had already started when I walked into The Earl.  The Blue Indian has a pretty good review of that performance (with video) here.  You can see the whole set (plus video of Lower Dens and Deerhunter) on ifilmbands’ YouTube channel, too.

[LIVE REVIEW] The Black Lips and Deerhunter @ Eyedrum (12/30/2010)

I labeled this as a live review, but it’s more about the venue than the performances.  Last night was the final show at the present Eyedrum location, but it didn’t feel like a funeral.  Really, how could it with a lineup like that?  They brought in Atlanta’s two biggest homegrown indie rock acts, bands that have each separately headlined the much larger Variety Playhouse in the last year.  Combine that bill with the loose, anything-goes atmosphere that Eyedrum has always had at their shows, and this was always going to be a party.

It would be wrong to mourn Eyedrum’s physical location anyway.  I always liked seeing shows there, but the room was less critical than the spirit.  The sound was never the best and sightlines could get rough at packed shows, but that was offset by the absence of pushy security or overpriced drinks.  Most importantly, Eyedrum was (and hopefully still will be in its new location) a place for forward-thinking live music.  In the short time that I’ve been here, that sometimes meant packed houses for popular national acts like Dan Deacon or Lightning Bolt, but more often than not the shows were far smaller and way more out there.  The first show I ever saw in Atlanta was Ige*Timer at Eyedrum, a duo of circuit bending Germans who performed to maybe 10 people.  I’m glad there’s a place in Atlanta that consistently plays host to stuff like that.

So, last night’s show.  It was packed, and both Deerhunter and The Black Lips were great (I missed Buffalo Buffalo due to a longer line than anticipated).  Deerhunter’s best moments came when they let the songs go longer and weirder than the recorded versions (like on “Fluorescent Grey”), and The Black Lips are a straight up party band.  I’m not sure there’s much left to say about either of these bands at this point.

I tried taking some video, but it didn’t turn out so well.  I was too far back during Deerhunter and didn’t want to be the asshole holding a camera above his head the whole damn time.  And keeping a camera still during The Black Lips wasn’t going to happen.  There’s a short video after the jump that was taken once I moved back and away from the pit, and it is just there to give an idea of what it was like inside.

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Spoon/Deerhunter @ The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA, 3/20/2010 (setlist)

shitty iPhone pic

This was my first time at the Tabernacle, and I’ve got mixed feelings on the place. We took the MARTA to avoid paying out the ass for downtown parking, and I would definitely do it again. The Peachtree stop is convenient, and taking the train means you can have a few more drinks. Or maybe you can’t, because you can’t afford or justify spending $6 on Budweiser or Bud Lite from a fucking 12 ounce can. Shots are $7 and skimpy, mixed drinks are even more. Otherwise, it’s a decent large music club. It doesn’t feel like a 2,600 capacity venue. It reminds me of DC’s 9:30 Club in that the stage is so wide that it makes the room feel smaller. Even at the back of the venue, you’re not going to feel that far away from the stage. If an artist I wanted to see was playing here, and tickets weren’t too high (I’m looking at you, Elvis Costello), I wouldn’t think twice about going.

We showed up at what I assume was the beginning of Deerhunter’s set. They were already playing when we walked in, but they kept at it for 40 more minutes. This is the second time I’ve seen Deerhunter, and I guess it’s time to write them off for good. The albums don’t do it for me, and both times I’ve seen them it’s had zero impact, which is surprising considering they built their reputation as a live band. Maybe it’s worth noting that the first time I saw them was back in 2007 when Bradford, who was still messing around with dresses and fake blood on-stage, had to stay on guitar for the full set because Colin Mee had quit or been fired or something. Deerhunter was overexposed back then, and it seemed like they were making daily music blog headlines, so it’s hard to remember the exact circumstances. Regardless, I expected the show to be at least some kind of spectacle. Ideally, I hoped songs from Cryptograms that had previously left me cold would take on a new context live. No such luck.

The version of Deerhunter that exists now seems far more stable than the one that existed three years ago, probably because Bradford appears more comfortable with his status as a Major Indie star. I just still don’t like the music. I couldn’t tell you what they played because I don’t know the material well enough.

Unlike Deerhunter, Spoon has a reputation for being a bit of boring live band. Whether or not you agree with this probably depends on how much you like their records. If you think they make cookie cutter indie rock albums that all sound more or less the same, and that they might be good for a few stand out singles per album, but you could take or leave the deep cuts, you might find yourself checking your watch. If you’re like me, and you feel that they’re constantly refining their sound every time they go into the studio, and every album contains surprises that still sound unmistakably like Spoon, you probably think they’re a great live band. You might also be a fanboy/fangirl/nerd, but that’s okay. Continue reading