Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Let the Kids Experiment

Deerhoof photo by Verity Smith

I feel sorry for people who insist on being fashionably late to concerts. First of all, by missing the opening acts, they get less for their money. Second of all, latecomers rarely experience the satisfaction of “discovering” new and exciting bands. Last night’s Deerhoof show at the Triple Rock was a perfect example of why it’s so very important to arrive on time.

Dawdlers missed out on perhaps the most bizarre spectacle they would’ve seen all month. Local noise-rockers/freaks, Quad Muth, stole the show with their über-experimental music/performance art. Like any good experimental band, Quad Muth came complete with homemade costumes and monster masks to augment their “stage” show. Now, I put “stage” in quotation marks because Quad Muth never actually set foot on the stage. All of their “instruments” were set up on the floor of the Triple Rock. Yeah, “instruments” gets the quote treatment as well. How often do you see bands playing a wired-up Clorox bleach bottle, or a guitar consisting of twigs and a car’s side view mirror glued to scraps of metal? The drummer was interesting to watch as he kneeled in front of his makeshift drum set, pounded on various metal objects, and threw his shoe into the audience. The “singer” entertained us by sliding around the floor in a milk crate, and by running around carrying the monitors over his head (and you thought Deerhoof was weird…). The most amazing thing about their set, however, was the audience’s reaction. Even if people didn’t know what to think about the music, nobody dared to turn their attention away from the “stage.” Quad Muth maintained the focus and curiosity of the audience throughout their entire set; everyone wanted to see what was going to happen next. The early-comers were definitely rewarded.

Deerhoof’s Kill Rock Stars label mate, Nedelle, played next. I’m not really sure what a quiet singer/songwriter was doing sandwiched between two crazy experimental bands. But I guess a little diversity never hurt anyone. Especially when the diversity is an adorable, puppy dog-eyed songstress (as she was asking for less vocals in the monitor, someone in the audience let out a big “awww”). After playing half her set alone, she was joined on stage by another acoustic guitar player/backup singer. Her performance helped us collect our wits (which were scattered about from Quad Muth’s set). As Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki put it, “Her songs are very…catchy.”

I’m glad I was finally able to see Deerhoof. For some reason, I’ve missed them the past twenty times they’ve come through the Twin Cities. They didn’t have the stage props that I’ve heard about, but they didn’t need them. Their music is interesting enough without them (interesting might be an understatement). It was really cool to see Deerhoof pull off the fractured arrangements and intricacies of their songs live. Some people just amaze me. The definite highlight of their set was their explosive performance of their song, “Milking.” During the song, Satomi was able to set aside her bass guitar and dance around the stage, which effectively whipped the audience into a frenzy. But no one in audience could match the energy of Greg Saunier, Deerhoof’s spastic drummer. It was quite a sight. But the real treat of the night was the relatively unknown, left-field opening band. Quad Muth made it a night to remember. [Click here for some excellent photos of Quad Muth performing at this year's No Fun Fest in Brooklin.]


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