Monday, October 04, 2010

Deerhunter-10/1/10 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse

With the release of Halcyon Digest now out to the public this past Tuesday and getting rave reviews. Deerhunter is already becoming one of the hottest acts in the indie music scene. On October 1, 2010, the band returns home to play at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. For me, this will be my third time seeing them. The big difference between my previous attendance to their shows were the fact that they were the opening act. Almost four years ago, they were just a quintet opening for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs just before they would emerge with their second album Cryptograms. Less than two years later, they opened for my favorite band in Nine Inch Nails just months before their third album Microcastle was to come out with the companion record Weird Era Cont.

While the first time I saw them, the band had technical problems while they were very loud. The second time, not only did they get proper equipment but also got a better reaction from the audience though it was very modest. Now as a four-piece (due to Colin Mee’s departure in 2007 and briefly replaced by Whitney Petty), the band is already riding a huge buzz despite the fact that the band isn’t getting a lot of press from the more major publications in Atlanta, notably the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that barely mentions the group. Yet, the band will be playing to a faithful audience as they will be joined by three other lesser-known acts from Georgia. From Atlanta are Hollow Sounds and Dust Bunnies and from Athens, Henry Barbe.

At 8:30, Henry Barbe started with a 10-song set. The first two with a harmonium while the remainder was with a 3-string acoustic guitar. The last three songs were with an electric. The reaction was modest though did drag due to Barbe’s simplistic performance as it was a bit boring at times though the reception was decent. The second act at around 9:15 were the duo known as Dust Bunnies, a dreamy, shoe gaze group that played a seven song set. Three of which were covers of songs like Leonard Cohen’s Bird On A Wire, Bobby Darin’s Dream Lover with drum samples of the Jesus & Mary Chains’ Just Like Honey in the background, and to close their set was a cover of the Velvet Underground’s Sunday Morning. Featuring a female violinist and the vocalist playing keyboards and a theremin with psychedelic visuals as their back drop.  They definitely stood out and got a great reaction.

The third act is Hollow Sounds, an experimental/post-punk band featuring former Deerhunter guitarist Colin Mee on vocals/guitars/keyboards. The band played an 8 song set where at times, the rhythm guitarist wasn’t heard for the show (as I was in right front of the stage). They got a very good reception while I screamed just before they played “Are you from Stars Hollow?” as Mee replied “Yeah”.

After their performance with all of the other acts equipment out of the way to make way for Deerhunter. The curtains closed, as myself and others peered through under the curtains, where the band was doing sound check as they were playing some material including the bass line to a couple of Jane’s Addiction songs in Mountain Song and Three Days. Then the nights closed out as Deerhunter came on stage opening with Desire Lines.  While the noise of guitars drowned out a lot of the vocals, notably guitarist Lockett Pundt for the two songs he sings. The band made up for it with swirling lights and lots of enthusiasm during their set. Notably with bassist Josh Fauver moving around a lot along with vocalist/guitarist Bradford Cox.

A lot of the songs played were from Halcyon Digest. Two of which in Helicopter and He Would Have Laughed had Cox played an acoustic guitar with noise pedals for effects. Other songs played were Lake Somerset, Never Stops, and the title track for EP Rainwater Cassette Exchange. After a nine-song set, the band took a break with fans yelling for an encore where they got a surprise. For one night only, Colin Mee returns the band to play the three-song encore. It definitely got crazier and during the last song where everything got way overboard. With Mee playing upside down, Fauver dancing around, drummer Moses Archuleta keeps playing the drums, and Cox and Pundt both making a pose. Something incredible happens that can’t be put into words.

The fans suddenly were on stage (myself included) and man, that trumps all sorts of concert experiences. After all, fans just want to be part of the band so why not join them on stage? Just because a band is on stage doesn’t mean they’re better than you. After all, they’re playing to a group of fans admiring they’re favorite band. There is no barrier between band and fans. Deerhunter proved it that night and fans got something they will never forget.

This show more was more than just a concert but a celebration of Atlanta’s best band finally getting some recognition and coming home to the fans that adored them. And in return, they give them an experience like no other. Karen O was right, going to a Deerhunter is like a religious experience. Seriously, this is the band to go to see and it will definitely unforgettable. After all on October 1, 2010, Deerhunter became kings that night.

Henry Barbe: 3/5
Dust Bunnies: 4/5
Hollow Stars: 4/5
Deerhunter: 5/5

Set List: Desire Lines/Hazel St./Never Stops/Rainwater Cassette Exchange/Don’t Cry/Revival/Nothing Ever Happened/Fountain Stairs/Helicopter/He Would Have Laughed

Encore (w/ Colin Mee): Lake Somerset/Dr. Glass/Strange Things

Deerhunter Reviews: Cryptograms - Fluorescent Grey EP - Microcastle - (Weird Era Cont.) - Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP - Halcyon Digest

Related: (Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Deerhunter/Imaad Wasif-10/14/06 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle) - NIN/Deerhunter-8/13/08 Duluth, GA Gwinnett Arena - (Atlas Sound-Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel) - (Atlas Sound-Logos) - (Lotus Plaza-The Floodlight Collective)

© thevoid99 2010

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