Deerhunter Dazes Webster Hall

August 23rd, 2011

Deerhunter – August 22 – Webster Hall

Last night Deerhunter reminded me how much a great rock and roll show can raise one’s spirits and showed why they are capable of selling out two nights at Webster Hall. The group, Bradford Cox (lead vocals and guitar), Josh Bauver (bass), Lockett Pundt (guitar) and Moses Archuleta (drums), appeared almost sheepish onstage, kind of in an “all right, let’s do this” casual sort of way, before melting into the first song of the night, the melodic and dreamy “Basement Scene” off 2010’s Halcyon Digest.

Each song effortlessly melded into the next. It was often just purely instrumental, a jam if you will. But unlike jams that can be perceived as annoying or pretentious or oh, please, just make it end, these never grew old because Deerhunter is just so damn sonically good. The four-piece mainly stuck with tunes from their newest album, the critically praised Halcyon Digest. Although the disc is known for its absence in sound, Deerhunter rocked it loud and clear last night. The melancholy “Helicopter,” a flowing tribute to the tragic Dennis Hopper story of a young male prostitute, held a light feel while marked in sadness. “Memory Boy,” a song with a when-a-house-is-not-a-home theme, proved to be very catchy, as did the hopeful “Don’t Cry.”

Perhaps best described as “psych-pop,” Deerhunter’s music definitely left the audience in a daze while still having a fetching airy quality. Cox blamed the jet lag for making everything feel like a giant hallucination but it felt that way to those in the crowd as well, and I am fairly certain not everyone present had been flying around the world. Cox’s voice ranged from crystal clear to a calm drone and everything in between. He sang with conviction and charisma, giving the lyrics distinct meaning. Bauver, Pundt and Archuleta pounded away on their given instruments so fluently and nonchalantly as if their instruments were part of them. Be warned and be saddened if you weren’t lucky enough to attend last night’s or tonight’s Deerhunter show at Webster Hall for they regrettably announced that although they love playing in New York City, it might be awhile before they return. —Kristen Ferreira