Deerhoof - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Deerhoof - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-01-31

Bad weather and long days can sap anyone’s energy, so it’s good to know that San Francisco’s Deerhoof has rolled into town with a well-needed dose of energetic, sonic insanity. Active since 1994 and with 13 albums to their name, Deerhoof have built up a reputation for blistering live performances that put them firmly in a league of their own. If this doesn’t wake me up, nothing will.

Recording their 2007 debut album right here at the Brudenell Social Club, it’s heartening to think just how long Cowtown (Dave Shields/Hilary Cowtown/Jonathan Nash) has been a staple of the Leeds scene. Fuelled by a rider full of Rubicon, the band's performance sets the bar particularly high for Deerhoof; a tightly executed set of sugar-rush, weirdo-punk with an acute ear for catchy, propulsive pop hooks.

Shield’s Animal-esque drumming gives the band their thunderous backdrop while Hilary’s keys give everything an off-kilter, Devo-style groove. As a three-piece, the band is absolutely untouchable. They finish with a riotous ‘Perfect Sound Forever’, Nash’s guitar spiralling into ever more ecstatic peaks of euphoric, post-punk glory. As always, it’s an absolute pleasure to watch the ‘Town in action.

It seems apt that there’s some free-form sounding jazz playing over the Brudenell’s sound-system before Deerhoof take to the stage. While the ‘Hoof don’t play anything approaching jazz, they certainly share an affinity for the genre's playful nature and free-form approach to song structure. Their erratic, surrealist punk-pop is something to behold; a joyously energetic, headlong dive into some wonderfully unpredictable sonic territory.

Satomi Matsuzaki’s sugar-sweet, quiet yet defiant vocals rise effortlessly above the band's tides of discordant noise-pop. When Matsuzaki’s not rocking her bass guitar, she finds time to treat us to some sharply executed dance moves. It’s all part of the show, of course, and what a show it is.

The band's drummer, Greg Sauiner, looks like the happiest man alive as he rips into each song with an admirable level of sweat-soaked enthusiasm. The set veers wildly between noisy, Truman’s Water-style discordance and pogoing odd-pop perfection; somehow it all makes perfect sense. It’s a live show that gives you a good shake, slaps you firmly round the face, and then buys you a celebratory drink - suddenly you’re alive. In other words; Deerhoof rock.

Halfway through ‘Let’s Dance the Jet’ from the Deerhoof Vs Evil LP (a cover of a deeply obscure Mikis Theodorakis soundtrack from 1967, naturally), Sauiner unexpectedly leaves his drum-kit and steps up to the microphone. With the band throbbing quietly behind him, Sauiner cheerfully chats to the crowd about the weather, carrots, and the fact that half the notes on their recorded version of this very song were recorded right here at the Brudenell.

The band brings seemingly disparate elements together to form one-hell-of-a satisfying whole, time and time again. Who else could write a song as joyously bizarre as ‘The Perfect Me’? It’s a madness often complimented by some brilliantly catchy earworms; the metallic pop of ‘Paradise Girls’ would no doubt be a smash hit in an alternate universe.

It’s good to know then that even in this sometimes mundane and everyday universe, Deerhoof are loved and appreciated. 

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