Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Noise Pop 2009: Deerhunter Played Mezzanine - Review, Pictures

Last night at Mezzanine, Noise Pop got going not with a bang (or even a pop, for that matter), but with a massive influx of glorious unrepentant noise expertly delivered by Deerhunter. The band played to a packed room of fans and brought forth a set that perfectly toed the line between their more noisy and more melodic compositions. What's more, the band seemed to completely transcend any of their sometimes-notorious stage drama and not only deliver a full set, but enjoy themselves at the same time.

Like we said, the set was diverse, and pulled from the band's entire catalog. The opening "Cryptograms" really served to get the night off to a great start, and the one-two punch of "Cover Me Slowly" and "Agoraphobia" was significantly meatier than on the record. While the extended version of "Calvary Scars" was a noise-rock masterpiece, our favorite spot of the evening was a fantastically perfect version of "Microcastle". When it kicked into the breakdown half way through, it simply blew the top off the room.

One of the most incredible thing about seeing Deerhunter live is their ability to recreate the layered sounds that define their records. Despite what we would have guessed to the contrary, there was nary a synthesizer in sight last night. Rather, the band uses guitars, vocals, and an array of pedals to generate the many tiers of audio. Most interesting to us was the number of synth-like tracks on the record that are actually processed vocals by lead singer Bradford Cox. Seeing the band craft these textures in a live environment is simply a wonder to behold.

If it's not clear from what you've already read, then let us be clear: we simply couldn't have asked for a better show than what we saw last night. Deerhunter demonstrated without a doubt that they are one of the most relevant and groundbreaking bands today. What's more, they have mastered a remarkably poignant ability to combine accessible, danceable melody with utterly challenging sound and noise. If music were a contest (and mind you, kids, we're not saying it is), these guys are most certainly the band to beat.

Deerhunter plays another free show tonight at Rickshaw Stop.
Setlist here
Many more photos at the HAD Archive