No Deachunter @ Southgate House 8.4.09

l to r: Bradford Cox (Deerhunter), Dan Deacon, Randy Randall (No Age)

I almost didn’t go see the “No Deachunter” show on Tuesday. At first I thought the weather would prevent us from traveling; we had dark gray skies, flash floods and occasional losses in power for over an hour. But then that cleared up and I figured all was well. Shortly thereafter I learned that the show was SOLD OUT and if the venue lost my name on the press list, I would be out of luck. Now, knowing that the Southgate House is notorious for losing guestlist spots, I was afraid that I’d wind up waiting outside for four hours while the other people I rode with had the time of their lives. But still I decided to go.

Well sure enough, after a long wait in line I got to the front and was rudely informed that I wasn’t on the list. I emailed my press contact who said he sent in my name and ran into two friends who were in a similar situation. Like I said, the Southgate House is notorious for losing press tickets. Luckily one of those friends had been talking to No Age’s drummer who was nice enough to put us on the list (again). And it’s a good thing, too, because the “No Deachunter” show was one of the best shows I’ve seen all year.

Deerhunter: smokin’ and playin’

Full photos/review after the jump.

In the interest of time I’m going to break this down band-by-band. The show was advertised as a round robin, but for the most part the three bands stuck to doing their own stuff (which was the show’s only minor flaw). Sure, there was some bleed-over of members, but only for about 1/4 of the time.

Deerhunter put on my favorite performance of the night, but unfortunately it was probably the least appreciated by the sold out crowd — that is, if you’re to go on the intensity of their reaction as an indicator of their enjoyment. When Dan Deacon played, people danced like mad; when No Age played, there was moshing and wild movements; but when Deerhunter played, there was a lot of clapping. Maybe they just have milder fans.

As the three groups took the stage together, Deehunter’s Bradford Cox made light of a fan’s playful switch-around of the letters on the Southgate House’s signboard by announcing the bands as the prankster had re-edited their names to read: “Hi, we’re Deercunter, Dan Bacon and No Gay.” They had a good laugh over it, but made their feelings known.

In addition to doing the best job with their original material, Deerhunter also had the songs that best lent themselves to collaboration. In fact, the best song of the night was the last one in Deerhunter’s set before the encore. It started off with just the four guys jamming as they’d done all show, then Dan Deacon started twiddling nobs and pushing buttons. After a minute the guys from No Age showed up and just attacked the song. It was one of the best songs I’ve seen all year and I don’t even know what it’s called.

Deerhunter and Deerhunter

I feel like I should be more familiar with No Age, but I’m just not. And I don’t mean that in the “they’re really popular so I should have listened to them way” — I’ve heard their albums and seen them in concert prior to this show. It’s just that nothing really ever stuck; I’m positive I can’t name you one of their songs. But still, I enjoyed their show in Newport a lot more than I did at SXSW.

No Age

But the real winner of the night was clear; Dan Deacon is the party king and everyone knows it. Dan’s music is really good on album, but any flaws are completely glossed over live during the frantic love-fest dance sessions. Everyone’s just so happy that he could probably play whatever he wanted and people would be into it.

Additionally, his crowd interaction is pretty tough to beat as a performer. At no point was there not something going on during his songs. His light-up skull was there (of course), but he also handed out strobe lights, picked one person to lead an interpretive dance circle and got the audience to form an expanding tunnel to run through and then be a part of. Everything was simple, yet fun — just like Dan Deacon’s music.

Deerhunter and Dan Deacon’s party tunnel

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