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Friday, September 7, 2007

Deerhunter & Grizzly Bear @ Neumo’s

posted by on September 7 at 13:25 PM

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I’d been waiting to see Deerhunter since Cryptograms came out in January; appreciating the murky, dreamlike progression of the record, the unrelenting energy from start to finish, is easy enough. But you want to be there. Beaten down by the weight of those heavy bass hits, and lifted back up by Bradford Cox’s delicate wailing. I figured I’d be off the “intrigued” fence and into the “definitely into” corral once I saw them live.

And I wasn’t disappointed. I’m now happily grazing with the other supporters (yeah, that’s sort of an awful analogy, but whatever).

While too many predictable cadences can get tired, for some reason Deerhunter totally rules those tried and true suspended major chords, mastering the sort of driving expressiveness typical of really epic movie soundtracks but without John Williams-y kitsch or the anticipated climaxes. It’s haunting without being too dark to navigate. There’s delay and whispery reverb but not as a crutch, and it’s possible that for once the muddy sound at Neumo’s, at least prior to the deafening mid-set feedback, actually might have contributed to the overall effect. Either way, I am totally sold on this band.

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Grizzly Bear, per usual, played impeccably. I’d seen them twice before (once inside, once out) and it’s always mind-boggling how adaptable their sound is to any environment, whether filling a field of festival-goers or a packed club. Indoor the individual instruments and harmonies were more easily distinguishable, and it’s more obvious how resourceful each member of the band really is, juggling glockenspiels, flutes, and recorders with their usual instruments and two, three, or four-part vocal harmonies. But as talented as they are, Grizzly Bear’s dreamy, dizzying set was nothing out of the ordinary for the band, nothing to pull me out of the Deerhunter-induced exhaustion, (although they did a cover of Carol King’s “He Hit Me” and it was pretty much amazing).


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