You’d think seeing a band for the first time some 20 years after they began recording might be a simple tick off the list effort, that after such a length of time a band may pass their peak in terms of material and start to be running dry; this is not the case for tonight as Deerhoof has Stereo buzzing and album number twelve, La Isla Bonita, is just as relevant as any of their previous workings.
Opening up proceedings are Leeds based post punk trio COWTOWN and the crowd quickly warm to driving grooves and cheerily yelped vocals.
The trio, who go by the names THE_BEAT, LANE_CHANGER and REAL_ESTATE according to their Facebook, seem in a joyous mood as they blast through a set full of nods to some of the best of 80s new wave, while still managing to squeeze in some garage hooks and some awkward yet endearing stage banter.
A simple nod to Glasgow through the keyboardist’s Bis t-shirt shows a band in the know of the city they’ve arrived in, with their jarring synth at times channeling the Glasgow act along side some vocals that you can’t help but notice another local boy’s influence; one David Byrne.
They’re a fun way to start the night, and as their vocalist states “we’ve been working on out stage banter, think we’ll get it in about 10 years,” before the synth player quips “we only learned to talk last week,” they demonstate a nice humour about themselves, always refreshing in an act.
Deerhoof don’t lack humour either, they’re noted for their surrealist stage banter and it doesn’t take long before drummer, Greg Saunier, makes one of his frequent visits to the mic.
This first time comes while vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki attempts to fix some monitor problems, and Saunier distracts us with his aloof presense and some hilarious banter about the thickness of tonight’s stage material.
First single from latest album ‘Exit Only’, which has a thouroghly entertaining video featuring Michael Shannon, proves an early highlight as Matsuzaki’s distinctive tweet gives a focal point to their addictive noise pop.
Deerhoof’s sound is one that doesn’t really require introducing, if you’re unaware go listen to their back catalogue, but their new album is amoung the most accessible things they’ve produced sinking into something that’s back to basics yet also as interesting as ever.
Saunier visits front and centre once again, to deliver some more spot on the hilarity about being singled out and as a shout out of “we love you Greg” comes from the crowd there is a certain sense of commoradery between perfromer and audience, many of which will have seen these guys on multiple occasions.
By this time the band is in full flow and Matsuzaki has had the opportunity to put her guitar down and dance, the banter keep flowing too as chat about their blizzard plagued trip here has resulted in the further north they’ve been being by far the warmest; it is sweltering the the Stereo basement tonight.
Older numbers come thick and fast, next to new tunes, without breaking the flow; ‘Buck and Judy’ from 2008’s Offend Maggie and ‘Dummy Discards A Heart’ from 2003 classic Apple O’ providing just a couple of highlights in a set packed with them.
Some more stage banter comes in the way of the standard complimenting the city they’re playing in, but coming from Deerhoof it seems totally genuine as Saunier lists Glasgow based Joe Howe and Bill Wells, the latter of which is in attendance tonight, as collaborators.
By the end of the set the band has everyone hooked with no one wanting to leave following final track ‘Come See The Duck’, during which the humour isn’t lost as Matsuzaki has the entire crowd chanting “come” before people start hesitantly heading for the exit; there’ll be very little complaints about the quality of the performance, these guys could easily go another 10 years and be just as exciting and relevant.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Michael Gallacher