Deerhunter – Sound Control, Manchester – 30th March 2011

Posted on April 1, 2011

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written for High Voltage

It has long been acknowledged that Deerhunter are one of the most enterprising bands in the world, with their influence on other contemporary musicians already highly noticeable. We can now add ‘consummate professionalism’ to their growing list of attributes. This performance at Manchester’s Sound Control was highly impressive, once again demonstrating that when it comes to innovation and artistry, Deerhunter are up there with the best.

Dazzling, reverb-heavy sounds and exceptional song craftsmanship are Deerhunter’s main assets; but in Bradford Cox they also possess a true creative genius. His ability to handle a crowd is undeniable, with his between song witticisms a distinguished element of the live Deerhunter experience. However, it is his stage presence and ability to perform so enigmatically that are his most prominent weapons. Tonight he was completely engulfed in the music, proof that his belief in Deerhunter is impenetrable and undying. It is rare to see a musician so absorbed in their own work but it is a wonderful sight when it happens as convincingly as this.

Set highlights were in abundance but Nothing Ever Happened provided something especially exciting. One of Deerhunter’s strongest numbers and a staple member of their live set, it was already supplying the crowd with something memorable when Cox suddenly launched into Patti Smith’s Horses during the song’s long play-out. When two giant songs collide like this the result is spectacular, and fans were left gobsmacked at such a thrilling piece of ingenuity. The merger of Helicopter and He Would Have Laughed was another phenomenal period of the set, with two of the best songs written in recent times combining perfectly and supplying a monumental 15 minutes worth of skilled musicianship. This scintillating spectacle ended the set before a much-anticipated encore delighted the many who had packed into Sound Control and who left knowing that they had witnessed something amazing.

Deerhunter are one of the most influential bands of recent times and this gig suggests their ascent will continue. They have ideas aplenty and this alone will ensure they develop and grow further. Cox is often referred to as an ‘unlikely’ pop star but when you are as good as him at fronting a band there is nothing unlikely about it. The thought of future Deerhunter records and performances is a thrilling prospect and I, for one, will be watching on with expectancy and excitement, doubtful that Atlanta’s finest musical export will let me down.

Set

60 Cycle Hum

Desire Lines

Hazel Street

Don’t Cry

The Light Pours Out of Me (Magazine cover)

Rainwater Cassette Exchange

Like New

Memory Boy

Cryptograms

Nothing Ever Happened

Helicopter

He Would Have Laughed

Cover Me Slowly

Agoraphobia

Octet

Sam Ellis Photo

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Posted in: Music