Deerhunter, Dan Deacon and No Age @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Aug. 7, 2009
The collaborative show began with the bands launching into Deerhunter's "Cryptograms," a hauntingly dense electro-dance concoction made even denser with the help of three guitars and two drummers flailing on two kits, before the duo No Age took the stage on their own, just drums and guitar. The audience was initially timid, but after some prompting they began to pogo into the air and even crowd surf.
Deacon prodded on the party atmosphere from a floor set-up adorned with glowing, green skulls and flashing lights. To an innocent bystander, Deacon's set might have conjured up images of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, with a crush of onlookers bouncing and pumping their collective fists in the air, lights flashing insanely to Deacon's pumping dance beats and his otherworldly, cat-like yodeling. A break into a more subdued offering from Bradford Cox of Deerhunter had Deacon's flashing lights subside as the crowd dazedly ambled back towards the stage. Cox, a pro at creating complex soundscapes through loops and deep, whirling chords, apologized for experiencing some unfortunate feedback squeals on his vocal mic.
To finish the evening, Deacon hosted a dance-off, complete with Cox and No Age guitarist Randy Randall as the judges. Deacon called the two musicians to the center of the ballroom, encircled by the crowd, to divide the room up into "Team Randy" and "Team Bradford." Unfortunately, not even one full minute into the proposed competition, Randall suddenly slipped and hit the ground. Hard. The crowd leaned in, then backed away, as Cox, at first looked confused and then frantically made a slashing motion across his throat for Deacon to hit stop on the sounds.
Randall's writhing on the floor in agony for a couple minutes gave way to a short announcement that the "show was over" and to clear out to "give Randall some room to breathe and not be gawked at." The crowd hesitatingly dissipated as the show went from built-up energy to flat-out concern. Even though Spunt and Co. had encouraged everyone to get loose, it was "getting loose" that put an abrupt end to the show, one that although energetic and solid, will be remembered more for a dislocated shoulder than its double drum kits and collaborations.
Photo by CJ Foeckler