Deerhunter, No Age, and Dan Deacon at Turner Hall
The indie-rock "round robin" shows teamwork really does pay off
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Halfway through Friday’s “round robin” concert featuring Deerhunter, No Age, and Dan Deacon at Turner Hall, No Age drummer-vocalist Dean Spunt demanded that “whoever’s fucking stoked” to “please come closer.” The crowd obliged, and the two-piece tore into “Here Should Be My Home” as Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox tuned a guitar at their feet. The band followed this standout number from 2008’s Nouns with a strong new song titled “Fever Dreaming,” which Deacon—from his spot on the audience floor—immediately christened “the best song of the tour.”
All of this took less than five minutes, and perfectly illustrated why the night’s unconventional setup worked so well: There was a sense of mutual respect and admiration among the artists, as they all went to great lengths to help and cheer on one another. And this couldn’t help but make the audience feel, well, fucking stoked to witness something so unique. The constant interactions created an endearingly loose vibe, but not too loose: Each act frequently had the unenviable job of following a stellar performance, after all, so everybody was on their toes. (Well, except for No Age’s Randy Randall, whose end-of-show spill made headlines the next day over at Pitchfork. More on that in a moment.)
It’s hard to say if anybody came out ahead in this indie-rock summit, though No Age sounded pretty great ripping through songs like “Sleeper Hold,” “Teen Creeps,” and “Eraser” with complete abandon. Despite only being a duo, the band is able to conjure up a remarkably dense sound. Not to be outdone, Cox led Deerhunter through an inspiring set, with the highlight coming in the form of a beautiful rendition of “Never Stops” from 2008’s Microcastle.
In the end, though, Deacon emerged as the crowd favorite. Drawing heavily from his two equally excellent recent albums, 2007’s Spiderman Of The Rings and 2009’s Bromst, Deacon had the floor shaking with his eccentric electronic jams. Deacon even managed to get Cox and Randall to face off in a dance contest. But the contest soon took an unfortunate turn when Randall slipped and dislocated his shoulder. The show was immediately stopped—a sad ending to a positively uplifting evening.