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Concert Wed Sep 11 2013
Bradford Cox might present as a reinvented post-modern Joey Ramone but Deerhunter's songs are far spookier than anything The Ramones dreamed up in their darkest nightmares. Swirling reverb and bass so heavy it made the floors and walls shake tended to mark the show as the songs swayed between dissolving lucid noise to a complete transcendental experience.
The band's stage presence was owned primarily by Cox himself who towered over the sold out mass with his eyes obscured by a nappy black wig and his slender form bathed in back-lighting. The songs took awhile to unfold at times but the packed audience was rewarded for their patience as the band played songs primarily from their last two albums (2013's Monomania and 2010's Halcyon Digest and, aside from the occasional lost of timing, pulled the songs from their main set off very well.
Live, with the reverb and some of the chord progressions drawn out, the songs came off as more eerie than catchy for the majority Deerhunter spent on stage. Or, the music was as catchy as you can imagine the songs of Angelo Badalamenti being if he were to reinvent guitar rock. Though some of the songs succeeded more than others, all of the songs were effective on some level of creating a richly cinematic mood throughout their 95 minute long set. The melodies soared in their repetition with the characteristic possessed sounding Bradford Cox scream making most of the songs take on further intensity and resonance. And, though previous bassist Josh Fauver was missed, the rest of the band did a nice job covering for his absence.
Deerhunter saved the title track and biggest single off their new record, "Monomania" for nearly last which dissolved into a bit of a train wreck with Bradford Cox pulling off his wig and collapsing into a heap while he cradled his guitar. At the same time, it was a wreck one didn't mind too much witnessing in a way as it made Cox less of a reinvented actor and more like the real and vulnerable human being fans always knew he was. Most of us stayed until the very end and heard Cox exorcise all his demons rather exhaustively and , at the very same time, triumphantly
Although Marnie Stern played with a bassist (who at times also sang backup vocals) and a drummer, as usual all of the awe the audience felt about the wonder woman was primarily from her guitar shredding. Her vocals are also quite pleasing to the ear and are a little less frenetic sounding. No one can deny how talented she is but she also had a rather amusing stage presence with tons of banter on stage about random topics that ranged from Woody Allen and coffee talk with Bradford Cox all the way to instagrams she posted of a new pair of hideous sneakers. One really couldn't predict what she might talk about next, which definitely made her 45 minute set more fun.