Friday, September 7, 2012

Live: Hopscotch Festival (Night One)

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Page 3 of 6


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Over to the modernist-sctructure-in-classical-clothing Memorial Auditorium, where Deerhoof was just getting started. Not having seen the San Francisco band since they added guitarist Ed Rodriguez in 2008, I wasn't quite prepared for his flamboyant, flamenco-shirted heroics. As a two-guitar four-piece (Satomi Matsuzaki and Greg Saunier took turns on a Paul McCartney-style Hofner bass) there's now less space in their knotted compositions, but they've added more arena-rock power. Even upsized, Matsuzaki's ability to find moments of calm amid the racket has kept them unique and distinctive for a decade plus.

Novel for a grand concert hall, most of the crowd skipped the seating to hang by the stage, a mosh-pit in wait. Drummer John Dieterich was entertaining as-always, looking like a prog drummer whose 13-piece kit had been lost by airline luggage, leaving him to beat one or two drums to extravagant excess. Their set was overwhelmingly, virtuosically weird. Old songs like "Panda Panda Panda" had a cute-to-brutal ratio that more or less followed the original versions, but they seemed bigger and tighter and even bonkers-er, insane switches in tempo and style precisely delivered. It's never been clear to me where exactly this music came from, and I wasn't sure in the moment if it was entirely coherent (it got a shade too Zappa for me once or twice), but the skill and force is undeniable.

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