With arrival of folksy revivalists like Iron and Wine, Devendra Banhart and Bon Iver, it would seem that the charge of the minimal guitar is relentless. Deerhunter is proving wrong those that believe loud guitars are on the fritz. An ambient, post-punk band with a scotch of garage finesse took over Czar's stage late Monday night.
Their album is tame compared the show the audience received that night. Ambient garage punk with melody, and it was loud. Whenever drummer Moses Archuleta hit bass drum on his set, the whole audience felt its thud. "Is this amp too loud? Is my guitar to loud?" asked vocalist, guitarist and band front man Branford Cox. Halfway through the set, Moses had busted through his bass drum. Opening band Summerbirds in the Cellar's bass drum fearfully took its place.
Deerhunter got their start in Atlanta, GA in 2001 when Cox and Archuleta met Their start began with tragedy when Cox's first bass player Justin Bosworth died of injuries resulting from a skateboarding accident. He played on only one album, Deerhunter/ Alphabets Split. In the middle of the stage, a battered skateboard sits atop a Marshall Amplifier. After Bosworth's death, Joshua Fauver, who was playing with Eletrcosleep International out of ATL took his place. Their next album Turn It Up Faggot, was a slew of emotional songs reflecting a very dark place.
Monday night at Czar, Cox asked the crowd what songs they wanted to hear, "No, no those songs are like epic end of the show songs, we can't waste those now. This song is about a skateboarding accident" said Cox, many in the audience unaware of Bosworth, bobbing along to its chords.
Deerhunter pays too much attention to detail to qualify as just another garage jam band. Shortly after Turn It Up Faggot , Lockett Pundt, Cox's best friend from high school joined him, Archuleta and Fauver. Pundt brought with him a reverb heavy guitar sound, furthering the experimental element Cox is continually seeking to explore.
Bradford Cox isn't afraid to talk to his audience, he periodically checked to see how everyone was doing, to make sure nothing was too loud and take requests. His charisma comes in his flamboyant yet genuine disposition. Every feature on Cox's body is elongated, his slim pale fingers on gliding along his off-white fender guitar's neck. He has Marfan syndrome, which causes limbs to elongate. He toys with the subject playfully amongst the crowd.
"You know, I'm up here every night, and I'm ugly, you have to stare at my ugly profile, and I have these long skinny white arms, but I never get to see your profile."
To the right and left of the audience were two massive projector screens displaying the live action onstage.
"You guys are always looking up here at us through your cellphone cameras, Ipod phones, black and rasp-berries, now we are gonna watch you." The whole audience turned to towards the screens and watched as "Agoraphobia" Cox and his band mates watched the audience and Fauver gave into a rare sheepish smile.
The bands third and latest release, Microcastle, came out last year. Songs like "Little Kids Demo," seem to toy with Doo-Wop like beats. Cox's vocal layered looping technique is Brian Eno-like in its delivery and effect. The guitar parts at times reminiscent of the Yardbirds, but louder and dirtier, like Yardbirds playing in the mud.
After taking the stage around 12:20 am, the final encore came around 1:45. "So many songs have three chords, I'm tired of that, let's play a jam with one chord-E" said Cox. Shortly after "Nothing After taking the stage around 12:20 am, the final encore came around 1:45. "So many songs have three chords, I'm tired of that, let's play a jam with one chord-E" said Cox. Shortly after "Nothing Ever Happened", Cox handed his guitar to a young shaggy haired audience member, to keep the song going. Fauver handed his bass down front to another wide-eyed, chubby faced youngster. While the audience played, Fauver and Cox slow danced to their music. Archuleta and Pundt stopped playing as well. Pundt, Fauver and Cox wrestled, and after being pinned down Cox curled up and pouted. They stood up and thanked the audience for coming, the boys in the audience playing them off the stage.