Deerhunter w/ Deakin and Casino v. Japan – Exit/In – November 10th, 2010

Off their late September release Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter returned to Nashville this past Wednesday. Having received raving reviews from the likes of Spin and even the New York Times, exalting their recent work as a mixture of cacophony and rapture, the band has been hurled into the spotlight. Nonetheless, with Nashville not having the best rep for supporting up-and-coming bands, I was skeptical of the turnout of what I knew at the time was an unsold-out concert at the Exit-In. Nonetheless it didn’t take long before my skepticism quickly transformed to surprise.

The sight outside the Exit-In upon my arrival was something that I had not foreseen. A mass of people were standing outside, filling the dead Wednesday night with a sense of anticipation. Indeed it appeared as if Nashville had pulled through, recognizing the chance to catch one of the greatest indie rock bands passing through Nashville.

Headlining for Casino vs. Japan and Deakin, one of the founding members of Animal Collective, the night was full of promise. Not to keen on catching Casino vs. Japan however, the night started for me with the second opener, Deakin and his accompaniment, providing a set that was heavy on hazy guitar lines, distorted vocals, and a strong influence of drum machine. Having contributed to Strawberry Jam, there were easy parallels drawn between Deakin’s current work and his influence through AC. Nonetheless, he was able to create a very distinguished sound, particularly more fluidic in structure, that left an impression that Deakin will find its niche and own popularity outside of AC.

Taking off after a nicely timed set lasting a little more than half an hour, Deerhunter were prompt in taking to the stage, diving into their first song right after 11 o’clock. Looking behind me at this point, I was astonished to see the venue pushed to its capacity, leaving me no doubt that the show was completely sold out. The first song of choice was “Desire Lanes”, opening with a strong beat and grungy bass line that captivated the audience as the song began to build upon itself. From there, the audience was pulled into a trance, fixed by the energy that each progression of songs presented.

The first half of the show seemed to morph into a single unit, as Bradford Cox, leading member and vocalist of Deerhunter, made little attempt at communicating with the audience. Instead, each song instantly led into another, predominately dominated by new tracks which came across live as more artistically produced than previously thought through listening to the record. A work that Bradford noted himself as being “less punky and more crafted”, the new songs off Halcyon Digest involved looped guitar lines and powerful, progressive drum beats that suggested a more pre-meditated strong configuration. Whatever it may have been, it seemed to be working. Drawing a mix of middle aged and younger supporters, the audience loved it all, especially the more up-tempo songs of “Revival” and “Memory Boy”.

The highlight of the night came with a song off their 2008 release Microcastle, “Nothing Ever Happened”, which Deerhunter morphed into an extended head-pumping jam that really got the crowd going. Followed up by their latest single “Helicopter”, Deerhunter left the stage to an appropriate roll of applause.

The encore put a final touch to the night. Ending with two older tracks, “Agoraphobia” and “Calvary Scars”, both extending well beyond their normal length, Deerhunter displayed their ability to mix up their songs into enhanced live versions. And as their last stop of the tour, their set in Nashville provided a fitting climax, leaving nothing but a sheer sense of satisfaction.

Helicopter

Revival

Comments
2 Responses to “Deerhunter w/ Deakin and Casino v. Japan – Exit/In – November 10th, 2010”
  1. Danny Friendly says:

    If you didn’t expect to see a huge crowd for Deerhunter in ANY city, let alone Nashville, you haven’t been keeping up with the (for lack of a better word) indie rock scene the past six-seven years. Deerhunter would have packed Exit/In out even for Cryptograms some five years ago.

    Deakin being on the bill did help though, as anytime you name drop Animal Collective the hipsters are gonna have a conniption.

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