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:: Deerhunter ::
30 March 2011 / Sound Control / Manchester
By Ashley Partridge

Ignoring the experience that was Mogwai in Sheffield when I was 16, this is quite possibly the best gig I’ve ever been to.

To say that Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox has the ability to instantly connect with a crowd and relate to them would be an understatement. His body cuts a peculiar frail shape on stage that immediately draws your attention. I have seen many musicians attempt to be funny or likeable but Mr Cox does it so effortlessly. He comments on lighting, mentions people by name and shakes the hand of photographers stuck in crap positions.

Opening with a very new song called 60 Cycle Hum (the lyrics of which were scribbled on a piece of A4 taped to the stage) that rocks like Sonic Youth in their prime, the elite four take 21st century American independent guitar music to a new level. Particular examples are the extended guitar solo and stream of ranting during Nothing Ever Happened shows Bradford isn’t being ironic when he swings himself around the stage and into the crowd: he genuinely feels it. Though it isn’t entirely reciprocated by the crowd – who choose to limit themselves to bobbing their heads in an aggressive fashion – it certainly is appreciated.

However, where Sonic Youth rocked, they could never really work a rhythm. Songs like Little Trouble Girl let Kim Gordon mellow out but it wasn’t exactly funky. That’s where Deerhunter come in. Set closer, Octet, takes the crowd by the hand with a fantastically groovy bassline and steers them through Bradford and Lockett’s effects-laden strings.

A classic Magazine cover, fan request (“I promised my mom I would never play that song again”) and the ceremonial passing of a pineapple all become parts of a much greater whole: a Deerhunter show.

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