Live Music + Gig Reviews

Deerhoof @ Point, Cardiff

23 June 2007

I like concepts as much as the next man, noble that they are, forever handy to turn convention on its head and so forth. But honestly, they don’t half make for a love/hate affair with the actual performance on a Saturday night out.

Before the intrepid Deerhoof however, we have California’s Kit, a band that bounce off the ceiling with ambiguous sentiments and make you jump in the manner of a person leaping out of bushes in the dark.

Kit’s singer VC (for this is a band of initials) bounds about the Point stage like she’s plugged into an electrical socket being watered like a pot plant. Guitar hooks fly out of GC’s guitar with profuse abandon, but the anticipated crossing from pure-noise rock into informed riot grrl action never really happens. Kit are more gregarious noise-rock than informed riot grrl, and as such leave me baying for the growl that’ll make them superstars.

The place descends into an anticipatory hush and I clear my mind from the task I’d set myself over the last few weeks to get into the new Deerhoof album, Friend Opportunity, then, all of a sudden, here they are.

There’s a certain distance and aloofness which Deerhoof immediately betray, taking to the stage to an impromptu tuning session that segues into the first song in a manner that blurs all known lines.

This is a band that delights in chopping up conventional rock into shards of noise and microscopic, wilful melody of course, but after piquing the crowd early on with a fierce intent that promises the world, the sounds tend to slip disappointingly into one monotonous whole.

Strange vocal shards and feedback somewhere between the meaningful and meaningless, between song speeches that fall into the same realm, it all makes me think about the concept off music and live performance in general, and surely there’s only so much of a challenge we can take.

Deerhoof for me are purely intellectual art punk sculptors who’s sheer brain power has blotted out any innocence from their music. As such, tonight they’re a fleeting fascination.

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