Deerhunter at the Clubhouse on 11/3/2010

Categories: Last Night

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Deerhunter

Deerhunter
Clubhouse Music Venue
November 3, 2010

Since releasing their fourth album in September, Atlanta band Deerhunter has earned some high praise from a few folks here at Up on the Sun. And with good reason. To put it simply, the band's latest album, Halcyon Digest, is really, really good. But it's not just us who think so; the album has received critical praise from just about everyone. Pitchfork gave Halcyon Digest a very respectable 9.2.

Deerhunter, who is currently on tour in support of their latest record, brought their show to a packed Clubhouse last night in Tempe.

Over the years Deerhunter has built up a reputation in the blogosphere for having some very interesting live shows. In the past, front man Bradford Cox, has appeared on stage wearing nothing but sundresses or performed while covered in fake blood, and let's not forget about the reports of onstage fellatio. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on who you are asking I suppose, last night's set from the band was pretty straight-forward.

The group's hour long set consisted of songs mostly from Halycon Digest and the band kicked them out fairly quickly with very little chit chat with the audience. Cox, who is undeniably star of the group shared vocal duties on a few tracks with guitarist Lockett Pundt. Not that this was a bad thing, however, as the two tracks that Pundt has lead vocals on "Desire Lines" and "Fountain Stairs" are arguably two of the best tracks on Halcyon Digest.

While Deerhunter's performance last night at the Clubhouse was good it did tend to be a bit on the slow side. Of course, it's not as if the groups music is full of arena rock anthems, so this wasn't completely unexpected but I couldn't help but hope for some of those crazy hi-jinks that I'd read about in the past to help liven up the show. And even most fans in the audience, who applauded politely in between songs, seemed to be hoping for a little bit extra from Deerhunter. And this didn't escape the attention of Bradford Cox, either. "It's so quiet. It's like a library," said Cox. It was difficult to tell whether he was genuinely annoyed by the lack of enthusiasm coming from the crowd or just playfully ribbing them.

Not that I was all too surprised by the lack of noise coming from the crowd, typically the mostly hipster crowds at these indie shows aren't the most rowdy of groups and I am beginning to think they go mostly just to boost their indie cred. I'm sure this wasn't the case for everyone in the audience, but when the lead singer of the band has to ask the audience to make some noise, and not in a Wu-Tang-Clan-make-some-noise way, you have to wonder why most people are there. Again, Deerhunter's set was a bit on the slow side, so lack of enthusiasm wasn't completely the audience's fault. Either way, if you were there as a fan or to improve your personal brand, you got your money's worth.

Critics Notebook:

Personal Bias: While I've always enjoyed Deerhunter's music, I wouldn't consider myself a super-fan or anything.

The Crowd: Hipster central. Seriously, it was like walking into an American Apparel catalog.

Overheard in the Crowd: Two shows in a row and I still don't have anything good for this section. I swear I'm going to start walking the crowd more to get something good for next time.

Random Notebook Dump: "That guy is totally spacing out." My notes in regards to Deerhunter bassist Josh Fauver, while he was performing last night.


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Eric Ruchensky
Eric Ruchensky

The band looked bored. The bassist looked detached and stoned. The bassist and Bradford seemed to mock the other guitarist when he sang his two songs (note that they sat down during part of one of them; Bradford also called him, "Squid."). The sound mix was terrible and the band didn't seem to care. The audience shouldn't be faulted for not receiving the set rapturously; they were very polite, refraining from talking during or between songs and from leaving early. Really a lacklustre show. Way different from a few years ago at Modified Arts when Bradford acted like he wanted to be there and the band, which included a former cheerleader, was enthusiastic. And the crowd wasn't *that* hipster. The underage area was full of your sensitive-bro frat dude types who think they're edgy because they like Sufjan.

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