Nothing’s Shocking

Deerhunter and Times New Viking at Neumo’s, Seattle | 21 November 2008

deerhunter...rocking back into your heart

It’s good to see that some shoegaze is still popular. Neumo’s was sold out Friday night for Deerhunter, it just goes to show if you have a flamboyant front man, one that is in your face gay, accidentally leaks his own albums, and regularly post songs and other stuff on his own blog, everyone is more apt to sit up and pay attention.   And pay attention is what everyone did at Neumo’s this night.  The band came on stage to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, no words uttered an no irony invoked even though one could have mistaken this for the Hold Steady gig down the road at the Showbox the same night.  With their third album Microcastle just released last month, but leaked all the way back in May of this year, the band seem to be gaining popularity with each release.  Microcastle is more straightforward and hook laden than it’s predecessors offering up pop jems like Never Stops, Agoraphobia, and Little Kids, while retaining it’s blissful haze of guitar effects and general feel of drone and haze that can easily hypnotize you into some kind of ethereal netherworld.

Cox and his band offered few words, actually none, but let their music do the talking.  Starting with their epic Cryptograms, the band sounded great, with three guitars going at once, it was pretty much a shoegazer dream show.  There were the lengthy epics like the afore mentioned Cryptograms the short sharp pop of Never Stops and lullabies like the Julie Cruise like Microcastle.  After every song I was expecting Cox to begin one of his funny stories or just shock us with something, but he uttered nothing.  He smiled graciously and the band continued to build their hazy, beautifully spell upon the crowd.  Bassist Josh Fauver, who plays with a permanent grin and looks like he’s having a better time than anyone else once uttered hello Seattle, but that was it.  The band continued their magic even including Vox Celest and Calvary Scars from the Microcastle bonus disc.

When I saw the Bradford Cox offshoot Atlas Sound back in March, he seemed to relish the between song banter, often to hilarious effect, but last night it was all business.  Or at least that’s what I thought.  As the band came back out for their encore Cox finally grabbed the mic to say a few words.  And like the first time I found out that Liz Frasier talks like sailor, Cox juxtaposed Deerhunter’s dreamlike music with his blunt funny words.  Someone yelled out a high school in Georgia, and Cox responded that he went to a rival school and that his school’s football team kicked their ass a few times.  Then he deadpans that he didn’t have much interest in football back then, he was more interested in sucking dicks and doing LSD.  No spells were broken though, how could they be when they played Agoraphobia, Heatherwood and Twilight at Carbon Lake for the encore?

mp3: Deerhunter – Never Stops (from Microcastle)

Columbus, Ohio noisnicks, Times New Viking who graced this same stage as headliners back in June, albeit to a much smaller crowd are opening for Deerhunter  on the current tour.  The beginning of their set was complicated by what seemed like their attempt to build a brick house on stage.  A number of bricks were ported up to the stage in unsuccessful attempts to secure Adam Elliot’s drums.  Once they got enough bricks up there, the band seemed to settle into their noisy whiteout rock.  Call and Respond, anew song off their latest single on Matador especially stood out with an almost Stereolab-like drone, but much noisier.

mp3: Times New Viking – Call and Respond (from the Stay Awake single)

More photos from the evening including Deerhunter’s setlist can be found over at my flickr.

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