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February 27, 2006 | by  | in Music |
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Deerhoof

with So So Modern
17th February, Bodega

Indigo was criminally under-full last Friday. Whoever promoted this concert did a pretty half-arsed job, despite the fact they managed to pull as good a band as Deerhoof into the country for a bargain price. Plenty of people missed out on what was a high-quality gig.

The evening was kicked off by So So Modern. I don’t make grandiose claims but this band is the best thing playing in Wellington at the moment. Go and see this band. In case you didn’t read my previous sentence, go see this band. A music wanker can sit there and admire their textures, rhythms, structures, dissonance, melody and structure which are all played out with breath-taking control. Any old listener can stand there and have a boogie, while watching great performances. These guys are so good I want to cannabalise them.

The main act, Deerhoof, came up next. For those who don’t know (don’t worry, a large portion of the audience, including me, didn’t really know much), Deerhoof are an American avant-gardey alternative band. They sound like a more chaotic version of Sonic Youth with crazy vocals chucked in. This is a band that plays on contrasts – loud/soft and vocals/guitar/drums. Satomi Matsuzaki’s child-like vocals and sounds are often demolished by frantic noise, but then suddenly takeover again.

Deerhoof took a while to win over the crowd. Perhaps it was the somewhat obscurity of the music, or the short interval between theirs and So So Modern’s performance. Maybe they just took a while to warm up to it. However, after the first few songs, the audience were won over by an intense performance. It’d be easy to think this music was just four people picking up their instruments and playing as crazily as possible. You’d be wrong my friend. This is highly structured and is remarkably difficult to play. Their drummer managed to not only control proceedings with magnificently manic and tight drumming but also with a winning, dweebish personality. He’d often just stand up from his drums, walk over to the audience, shyly say “thanks” and then sit down. I wanted to pat his head. By the time their set finished, the crowd was won over by Deerhoof’s brilliant music.

On the way to the concert I was given a CD by some Christian hip-hopper with the rather pessimistic message that God wasn’t going to save us because of all the chaos. Maybe he should have popped up to Indigo and seen how beautiful chaos can be.

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About the Author ()

Brannavan Gnanalingam has come a long way from being born in the teeming metropolis of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He may be known as feature writer for Salient, but is also the only man in history to have simultaneously donated both his kidneys. He is also an amateur rapper going under the moniker Brantank and hopes to win a Grammy.

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