Deerhunter: Nothing Much Happened Until "Nothing Ever Happened"
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM
When the sun goes down on the last day of Bumbershoot, then you shall know true fatigue. It was in those circumstances that Atlanta quintet Deerhunter took the Fountain Lawn Stage before a very large crowd that skewed young. For their first eight songs, Deerhunter kind of turned it into the Fountain Yawn Stage (thank you). Oh, the songs were pleasant enough: jangly shoegazed anthems for the disaffected, mostly coming from the newest release, Monomania. And frontman Bradford Cox donned a convincing bowl-cut wig that made him look like a member of the Seeds. But the overall vibe was tepidly safe and it made me think that indie rock has become as mired in stagnant tropes as the blues.
Deerhunter, rocking politely on a Monday night.
Cox acknowledged the crowd’s relative disengagement with a withering dose of sarcasm. “You guys are out of control! Take one step back and chill out. Lockett’s going to sing this next one because I don’t want to be singing when the world ends in a whimper, not a bang.” They then shrugged into a dull run through “Desire Lines.” Later, Cox said, “Thanks for your polite applause. Here’s a polite song.” They then shrugged into a dull run through “The Missing.”
Bradford Cox, looking Seedsy.
It wasn’t until the last three songs of the set that Deerhunter jacked up the energy level, and then shit got about 150 times more interesting. “Nothing Ever Happened” combined the irrepressible propulsion of the Velvet Underground’s “Foggy Notion” with that of Neu!’s “Hallogallo.” Deerhunter should’ve ridden this amazing tune out to the end, but even though they didn’t, it was the night’s most epic jam and it redeemed the previous 40 minutes of indierockzak™. They finished with “Back to the Middle” and “Monomania,” the latter ending in a noisy, chaotic climax—including a triple-decker feedback sandwich—during which Cox literally flipped his wig. Thanks for 1/3 of a great show, guys.