Live at Hudson River Park's Pier 54
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This is the beginning of the end, you guys. People wore jackets to last night’s Real Estate/Deerhunter show. The sun seemed to sneak away sooner than it had a week ago. It rained a little bit. Summer: It’s almost over. Fittingly, Real Estate’s eternally laid-back vibes, spiked with a handful of new songs that included real, actual cymbal crashes and saw Martin Courtney sounding more and more like slacker god Stephen Malkmus, gave way to the chillier ambient jams of Deerhunter. In between came the show's real highlight: sun-spotted, hook-ridden psych-pop at the hands of Bradford & Co.
After some friendly, distinctly Bradford Cox-ian banter about the whereabouts of briefly MIA bassist Josh Fauver's (“I’m not nervous, but I’m nervous for that bass. It’s not going to play itself”) the band — absent of Whitney Petty on guitar — launched into a set of swirly, echo-y expanses of pop melody, songs like the grungy "Never Stops" and jumpy, childlike “Hazel St.” bleeding into each other. This is the stuff that Bradford Cox does so well, the way his voice radiates over a creepy repetitive bassline, sprouts of distortion, or toe-tapping drumming — sometimes wailing, sometimes floating, sometimes taking a backseat to the more grounded vocals of Lockett Pundt — but always dodging the edges of sinister.
Except for when he just straight-up dives into the sinister. The second half of Deerhunter's set was devoted to the weirded-out, effects-heavy noise experiments that have made people use the phrase "a religious experience" when referring to their live shows (that's you, Karen O). “Are we watching a jam band right now?” I heard a guy ask his friend. Yeah, actually, they were. A jam band whose lead singer is using a screwdriver to make sure the sounds coming out of his guitar sound fucked-up enough. In an intimate setting, this works for Deerhunter; really well, actually. Bradford oozes showmanship — it's hard to take your eyes off of him — in a way that never comes off as "showy." But by the time the warped drones of a 9-minute long "Wash Off" fell into more feedback, even the tumultuous drumming climax of the next song wasn't enough to keep some people from leaving. “See? That's what ambient noise will do," said guy. (Also, what rain drops will do, which were starting to fall at this point). It may have presented itself as a problem at a free outdoor show, but I don't think Deerhunter has anything to worry about at Webster Hall in October.
Courtesy of unARTigNYC