Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Deerhoof / w/ Le Ton Mite, L'Ocelle Mare, Starter Set: featuring Leg & Pants Dans Theatre, Screenings by Martha Colburn. Black Cat 1/28 DC

One thing is apparent to me. Deerhoof have reached a point of popularity just shy of where Sonic Youth was around the time of their crossover hit record Goo. Deerhoof’s audience now fills to capacity large sized venues but yet I am confused. Where did these new fans come from? I understand Deerhoof has made their most commercial sounding record to date but this isn’t something MTV is behind nor is it fueled by a commercial radio hit. Secondly, this new and not necessarily improved larger fan base (at least in DC) didn’t seem to be there for the music at all. I think they thought they were but the crowd was constantly on the move and talking. And talking. And talking. In theory a multi-media show is a fantastic change of pace but it also lends itself towards crowd chatter and not surprisingly the whole audience practically ignored the ENTIRE show.

The dance troop managed to get most of the crowd to sit for their act but it certainly did not prevent those seated from opening their mouths.

Less than half of the room seemed to give a rat’s ass that anybody was on stage at all and as a pint sized member of the crowd, I found the constant motion of my verbose surroundings frustrating as hell. I left the show about 35 minutes into Deerhoof’s set feeling dizzy and disappointed. Not in the band but the people who think they support them.

I keep daydreaming about what an aerial view of the crowd must have looked like. I imagine a babbling water flow chart depicting currents that rely on certain paths over and over again with a handful of places that remain steady and help to channel these currents.

Also I am close to naming the Black Cat as having the worst sound of any club in the city. It always takes several songs for any band to remotely sound listenable and on target. Worst of all the Black Cat likes to ignore actual and definite sound problems. Poor film maker Martha Colburn (we chatted between sets) debated showing the second round of her films because the sound line was so poor. In fact the buzzing sound of a failed connection was louder than the music in her films. We joked that maybe people would think the static sound quality was part of the art film experience but I can’t be certain as to how many people directed their attention towards the screen no less questioned the sound quality over the sound of their own voices.

I do however have two words about what I did see of Deerhoof.
Obscenely proficient.

Broadcast was played between acts and it triggered an association I had never made before. Deerhoof has evolved into a fucked up version of the old Broadcast line up. In Twin Peaks terms Broadcast is to the White Lodge what Deerhoof is to the Black Lodge. Each band has mastered opposite ends of the jazz/prog/psych/math/pop spectrum and can perform it to soundtrack quality orchestrated perfection

Other notables from this show:
*Multiple boys wearing barrettes
*Men feeling the urge to mimic Satomi’s singing.
*Will Oldham look-a-likes a go-go.
*Advanced Flamenco level clapping from the audience which almost made up for all their talking.
*Women who should be models if they aren’t already. I’ve actually noticed this at many Black Cat shows. Its as if a local modeling agency post shows at the Black Cat to check out.
*This is cruel considering portions of male population were balding backwoods mountain men, plastic duck hair accessory wearing fellers, men who may legally be old enough to call men but actually looked about 16, and or dudes who had drank too much so by the time Deerhoof took stage they were swaying like trees on a windy day... if trees smoked and held glasses of beer that they spilled when they swayed.
And finally…
Pissed offf short girls who couldn’t see a thing but don’t realize that Satomi is so tiny that she is nearly impossible to see even when performing high up on a stage at a nearly sold out show.