Deerhoof continue to redefine themselves

Deerhoof_postPhotos by Greg RaMar // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Deerhoof with Crystal Skulls and Go Dark //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
November 18th, 2014 //

It’s been about 20 years since the formation of Deerhoof, and the San Francisco natives show no sign of slowing down, in fact, quite the opposite is in process. One cannot think of this band in conventional terms as they truly are not conventional in any way; they don’t fit into any genre, they don’t follow traditional timing and basically shatter their fans expectations with each album and tour. Helmed by rhythmic mad scientist, Greg Saunier, Deerhoof’s show on Tuesday at the Great American served as an extension of the boundary-pushing tendencies these locals have cultivated over the past couple of decades.

A sold out crowd welcomed the act with revelry as they started out the show in a jazzy, dreamy intro (“Mirror Monster”) before launching into the blistering track, “Exit Only”. This one-two punch fully demonstrated the range of sound that band has always exhibited, and continues to pump out via their latest release on PolyVinyl, La Isla Bonita. The juxtaposition of thrashed-out instrumentation, insanely tight drumming and mousy vocals of one Satomi Matsuzaki creates something fully unique that words do little justice to describe. John Dietrich and Ed Rodriguez are the 2-man guitar team who blanket attendees in a pysched-out wave of prog-leaning segments.


One of the biggest take-aways from this show was the ever evolving musical dialect that Deerhoof have created for them, and them alone. The 4 members share a vernacular on stage that only they speak. Greg’s musical training allow him to ebb and flow with the other members on stage; never playing over Satomi’s dainty vocals while allowing Dietrich to expand on his freakish chords. While the band played heavy off the 2014 release, they sprinkled in some crowd favorites in the form of “Dummy Discards a Heart” and the ever-popular, “Twin Killers”.

As Saunier addressed the adoring crowd, it was clear that San Francisco loves Deerhoof and they love us right back. The audience was treated to some hilarious fits of banter from multiple band members as they took a stroll down memory lane, regaling in tales of the early days of the act. One can hope they continue on for another decade as they are truly the definition of indie DIY while continuously keeping their listeners on their feet, whether that’s on their self-produced records or in the fiery heat of their live show. Deerhoof cannot be cast aside anymore.

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