Post-rock/punk outfit and local weirdos Deerhoof just celebrated their 20th anniversary and 12th album release with La Isla Bonita on November 4th. Their noisy whimsicality filled a sold out Great American Music Hall with excitement and childishness Tuesday October 18th.

Deerhoof opened with the dreamy and quirky “Mirror Monster” from their new release. It was a slow beginning to a set that would later hit harder and speed up. The San Francisco band has a uniquely astonishing and innovative sound and their performance Tuesday night was both rough and eccentric, combining crazy rhythms and twisted harmonies with noise and excessive stage energy. The evening heavily featured material from their latest release, but also found space to give us popular hits like “Twin Killers.”

There is a fine line between being interestingly weird, and being weird to be weird. Deerhoof was at times interesting indeed, but often came off as somewhat feigned. Their idiosyncrasies seemed to be something they could never move away from, and they got stuck in a place were things became predictably unpredictable. Although I love experimentalism, vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki attempt at copying children’s voices became sparse and superficial. Her voice seemed to be used more as an effect than an instrument, and it did not benefit the act as a whole. A little playfulness is always appreciated, but it has to be based on a solid talent hiding deep down somewhere. Unfortunately, this talent was clouded and failed to shine through.

The audience, however, was able to overlook Matsuzaki’s excessive whimsicality, finding these qualities charming and thrilling in tandem with the rest of the performance.

On the instrumental side, the band’s performance was solid and impressed many of us. There was no doubt that Deerhoof is a unique and talented band, and the spectators’ enthusiasm seemed to reflect this. So when GAMH tried to turn on the lights and music after Deerhoof encore, the crowd refused to give in. After a long moment of cheering, clapping, screaming, and stomping, the band had no other choice but to come back onstage with one final number. The hometown celebration of Deerhoof’s 20 years of reinventing weirdness proved a success.

Article by Ane Skjølaas



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