Indie Band, Deerhunter, rock the Blue Note


Cam Fuller

There’s something truly special about a band who is willing to experiment live, such as the legends Pink Floyd who took contemporary rock to a new level in the early 1970’s with long ballads that reached the cosmos. In the ‘90s, groups like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine found ways to manipulate the idea of music all together with ear piercing guitar riffs. Now, the band that carries the legacy of live sonic experiments is Deerhunter, the legendary indie rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.
Frontman and guitarist Bradford Cox creates some of the harshest riffs out there with a surprisingly high level of pop sensibility. The essence of this band isn’t just creating new sounds, but rather creating new sounds that work. On their newest album ‘Fading Frontier’, the group switches back and forth between high walls of distortion and funky soul grooves with ease which all come together to show off how Deerhunter as one of the most diverse groups in rock right now.
On Wednesday Oct. 19, Cox and company came to The Blue Note as they begin their fall tour. With their explosive sound, Deerhunter did little to disappoint their fans that came out for the show. Starting off with ‘Breaker’, one of the hit singles from ‘Frontier’, the band turned an otherwise melancholy pop song into a shoegaze-esque tune, blending in as many elements of underground 90’s rock as possible while still sounding fresh.
[youtube url=””][/youtube] This initial script was scrapped quickly however, as lead guitarist Locket Pundt somehow found a way to transform the synth lead on the immortal ballad ‘Helicopter’ into a bouncy guitar riff. Though it may seem like a terrible idea on paper, in practice the band made it work, even working in saxophone which has never before been heard on a Deerhunter record.
[youtube url=”″][/youtube] To finish off the show, the band played their ‘09 single ‘Nothing Ever Happened’, a fast punk-rock song that even in it’s somewhat old age still lives on as a great example of Cox’s superb songwriting. Much to the chagrin of the Blue Note security, the crowd absolutely lost it as the usually five minute tune lasted a whole 12 minutes and caused more than a hand full of crowd surfers and mosh pits. Almost as a sign of respect to the audience’s own performance, Cox ended the night by passing his guitar around the crowd who only added to the previous sounds of absolute chaos on the instrument.
[youtube url=””][/youtube] The entire evening the band was constantly taking old ideas that worked perfectly and transforming them into something even more interesting that was able exercise a sense anti-conformity. Seeing as this is where the band has always succeeded in the studio, it came as no surprise that this is the direction they would take in a live setting, but to see it in person is like a promise that true rock will never die. Someone out there will always continue to expand the boundaries of what music can do, and on that Wednesday night at the Blue Note, that someone was Deerhunter.