Deerhunter at First Avenue


One does get used to First Avenue selling out all the time, so when a show I cover does not it starts out feeling a bit lonely. Last night’s Deerhunter show was at about 75% capacity but that did work quite well for the overall feel of the show.

First up were Atlanta’s Jock Gang, composed of Kimberly Collins, Jared Collins, Jonathan Merenivitch, Adrian Switon, and Garrett Burke. They describe their music as “harsh art rock”. Their sound reminded me of the Doors with floating vocals, prominent bass and a bit of a jammy feel.

Next up was Aldous Harding a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. The start of her set felt a bit out of place at First Avenue and last night’s lineup. There was a bit of a coffee house vibe, her sound was quiet and I could actually hear talking from the crowd while standing in the pit with my earplugs in. Slowly but surely Harding pulled in the audience one by one. Her sound has some unique vocal elements. Her cover of Kate Bush ‘s “Wuthering Heights” left the audience stunned and she closed to loud cheers and applause having conquered First Avenue.

Deerhunter opened their set to chimes and a noise wall transitioning into “Flourescent Grey”. Singer Bradford Cox and the band were a bit shrouded in darkness. The Atlanta band has been around since 2001 and is a staple on local radio station The Current. Fans were excited to see them with a lot of shouts from the audience (including a woman who clearly liked Cox’s hat). Through the set Cox had an ongoing dialogue with fans. A charming moment was when Cox stumbled on stage and revealed that he had taped his shoes with gaffer tape and they now seemed to come apart. According to him this was his first embarrasing moment on stage – for 15 years of touring, that seems to be a pretty good record. The wide range of their work was evident throughout their set with jammy moments followed by dancy songs. Overall a very nice set with plenty of room to dance.
Set List: Fluorescent Grey / Revival / Breaker / Rainwater Cassette Exchange / Helicopter / T.H.M. / Dream Captain / Take Care / Living My Life / Desire Lines / Snakeskin Encore: Agoraphobia / Nothing Ever Happened / Ad Astra