Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Deerhoof | Metro | Chicago | Jan 27th

Unfortunately, this post became a bit dated during my avalanche of work over the last month. However, it's still a bang-up review of the Deerhoof show in Chicago by False 45th's Midwest correspondent, TK. TK is a writer by trade. So, that's why his reviews are much better than the tripe I trot out.


Sat., Jan. 27
Chicago, IL

When Deehoof drummer Greg Saunier addressed the crowd at Saturday's show, I don't know if he was tired or just jittery. What I do know is he came off like the late Andy Kaufman in one of his bits where he's nervous and skittish.

Come to think of it, if Kaufman were still around, I'm guessing Deerhoof would be right up his alley. The band runs the gamut - I swear at least a few of their songs are an attempt to piss me off - but if you stick with the whole act, you'll get everything from sweet interludes, violent outbursts, playful silliness and a genius behind it all that leaves you elated you hung on for the entire strange ride.

The Metro is my kind of place - basically the stage, a small floor area in front and a small balcony over the top. The show was sold out but I didn't feel at all crowded as I assumed my usual position on the left, a first down away from the stage.

From the way the rousing drum beat during the opener, "+81" from the new release Friend Opportunity, cracked through the place, I knew this was going to be a unique concert. Count me among those who swear by Deerhoof's live reputation. I've seen a lot of great shows, particularly lately, but Deerhoof put on one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Deerhoof never really lets you get comfortable but I'm all right with that, as hooked as I got on The Runners Four. The band constantly changes tempo, toying with the audience by pulling back on the reins with soft, quiet moments before all hell breaks loose. The band has a huge thing for the start-stop, soft-loud dynamic. For the all the chaos involved, I never once got the impression the band was off the same wavelength despite ample opportunity for things to go wrong.

Lead singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki epitomizes the contradictions the band seem to thrive off of. You look at the her tiny frame and it's one of the least imposing statures in rock but don't be fooled. When Deerhoof feels the urge, I'll make the argument the band can unleash as much fury as anyone around.

Saunier and Matsuzaki occupy the front of the stage with guitarist John Dieterich stationed slightly behind and between the two of them. You don't see a lot of drummers at the front of the stage but you don't see drummers pummel their kit in as savage a fashion as Saunier either.

Just because Dieterich is in the back doesn't mean he's taking a backseat. When Deerhoof blasts away, Dieterich perfectly complements Saunier's thunderous beats.

Perhaps the best moment of a night filled with many was a triple shot of my favorite songs off The Runners Four - Spirit Ditties Of No Tone, Wrong Time Capsule and Twin Killers - played consecutively. Then to my surprise, the band pulled off melodic moments on songs like The Galaxist and Matchbook Seeks Maniac that were lighter in volume but no less stirring.

Deerhoof played for just over an hour. Like The Pixies and The White Stripes, they play a number or quick hitters for songs and they sure as hell don't need to play for a long time to make a lasting impression.

Because I've been sick lately, my voice was shot during the show but in exchange for my vocal chords, I gained a standard by which I'll be measuring other live acts. My recovery from being under the weather is coming along fine but the one I'll be making from the freaking truck that hit me Saturday night in the Metro will take far longer.

Opening bands: I've commented before on how stale I find the rap/hip-hop genre to be these days. With said, rapper Busdriver wasn't bad....wasn't bad at all. I was certainly eager to give him the benefit of the doubt after enduring Trin Tran, one of these guys who plays all the instruments by himself.

This is the second time I've seen an opening act like this and I'm quite underwhelmed. Perhaps these guys are too annoying to get anyone join them in a band. I'm sure I'm supposed to give him the benefit of the doubt because he's playing these different instruments at once, but if the music doesn't work, I don't care. To review, solo artists trying to play with multiple toys at the same time should be 1) female and 2) doing porn.

Security with a sense of humor Security guard: You guys have to get those jackets off the floor in front of the exit.
Dude with ridiculous lime green, pink and white plaid matching jacket and trousers: Why?
Security guard: Why do you think it's a bad idea to have coats on the floor in front of an exit?
Dude with ridiculous lime green, pink and white plaid matching jacket and trousers: (left speechless for several seconds)


Bob F. said...

I think "Tripe Trot" would make a great band or blog name.

Mars said...

Greg has a form of Tourettes Syndrome. He has a nervous tic that resembles a laugh. I met him about ten years ago and thought "Wow, I'm killin' this guy! I must be on a roll!" only to have my friend (who used to be in the band at some point) later tell me about his Tourettes. I like to think that explains about 20% of his laughs that night, the other 80% were due to my comic mastery.