September 19, 2013
Deerhunter played Webster Hall
"Only fear can make you feel lonely out here" breathed Bradford Cox, effortlessly into a cloud of pillowy guitar as he embarked onto an empty stage at Webster Hall. Slowly he was joined by the rest of the band and together, they carefully constructed a tower of gauzy reverb. Fear has never seemed like something that has held back any member of Deerhunter. Drawing from much of their excellent discography, the group covered everything from billowing ambient drones to shoegaze to obliterating noise jams. "We're here for a few nights, so we thought we'd change it up for each show. Hopefully you came to the one where we play the songs you want to hear" Cox uttered almost mid-way through the evening and considering the ever evolving cast of bandmates, the group still reached back for old classics like "Cryptograms", "Lake Somerset" and "Spring Hall Convert". With guitar lines that slithered like metallic snakes and heavy washes of reverb, the triple guitar onslaught sounded as powerful as ever. While Bradford may be the brains behind the operation (his outfit appeared to be the only stylized look and consisted of a wig, animal print shit and white jeans), Lockett's contributions to the evening, "Desire Lines" and "The Missing", honed in on the dreamier side of things. At this stage of their career, Deerhunter have the ability to play to both long-time fans as well as the recently converted and the extended breakdowns really allowed for the band to explore sonic textures that gave the show incredible depth. The main set concluded with a sparkling performance of "Helicopter" before a hyper-elongated "Nothing Ever Happened". For the encore, the guys stuck to a medley of tracks from Monomania before launching into the song of the same name. As the song built to it's catastrophic climax, a cacophony of feedback and blinding strobes delivered a sensory overload experience that almost raised a candle to My Bloody Valentine's infamous holocaust of noise. For a group that appears reclusive and shy, aside from Bradford I'm not sure any of the other guys so much as looked at the crowd, it's hard to imagine what find of fear would make them feel lonely onstage. Bradford's witty banter is so playful in nature it's almost as if he steps into character for each song, his narrations letting him speak from a plethora of experiences. Whatever the case may be, Deerhunter were as sharp and on-point as ever delivering majestic and brilliant tunes. I'm glad I went on the night they played all the songs I wanted to hear.