by David Gimpel
The theatrical and unpredictable Deerhunter performed a sold-out show in Detroit at El Club sporting a new look and supporting their eighth full-length album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? This new record is self-proclaimed as their best work yet by the band’s front man, Bradford Cox. Their performance showed they’re very confident with the new album, and it was heavenly.
Mary Lattimore opened the night sitting alone on stage with a beautiful harp and a couple of effect pedals. This pairing might sound strange, however the new Deerhunter record does feature Baroque style instrumentation, so her opening the show was clearly done by design. We were also treated to a collaboration of Lattimore and Deerhunter front man Cox. It was more of an atmospheric piece than a song. Cox sat on the floor, looping and manipulating his voice over Lattimore’s melody on the harp to create a very hypnotic effect.
Deerhunter walked out playing the opening notes to the classic track “Cryptograms,” while Cox continued to manipulate his vocals through various effects before kicking into the song. This song is a jam and it was a perfect opener.
They wasted no time going into the new material after the noise settled from the opening jam session. A harpsichord introduces the next song, “Death in Midsummer,” and the crowd was immediately engaged. Cox wondered in an interview how many people would really listen to the whole new album. I think it’s safe to say the fans were very responsive to the new material.
Deerhunter showcased more songs from the new album like the extremely catchy “No One’s Sleeping” and a crowd pleaser “What Happens to People?” All these songs feature some excellent piano work. During the songs, Cox used the whole stage to engage with the audience by showing off some dance moves, and every once in while he would literally join the crowd to sing along.
They made sure to dig deep into their catalog, playing favorites off 2010’s classic album Halcyon Digest such as “Revival,” the emotional “Helicopter,” and guitarist Locket Pundt sung “Desire Lines,” which provided a dreamy jam session that was just pure bliss to this reviewer’s ears.
The end of the set is where the band really let it rip. The guitar solos in “Disappearing Ink” and “Coronado” had them reaching the outer limits of El Clubs sound system. Those who could still hear after that were treated to the encore to “Agoraphobia,” a true classic, before busting out the saxophone with the heavy hitter “Monomania.” The band brought down the house and we got to see Cox jumping into the crowd one more time.
You may never know what you’re going to get with Deerhunter, but it’s guaranteed to be quality and always memorable.