From flowers, to basketball, to the very specific trumpet musical notation “con sordino,” Deerhoof can make a song about anything and have it sound out-of-this-world good. The San Francisco experimental rock group played a hometown show at Great American Music Hall last Thursday, and it was high energy all-around.
This was my first time catching Deerhoof live, but I know that they mix up their setlist every tour, now having 14 studio albums to choose from (their latest album Mountain Moves released just earlier this month). They kicked the night off with the banging two-minute track, “Flower,” which features call-and-response successions between spunky bassist-vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki and grungy breakdowns by guitarists John Dietrich and Ed Rodriguez and drummer Greg Saunier. They then broke into “I Will Spite Survive,” which starts with a new wave-esque guitar lick.
Deerhoof’s upbeat, craftily chaotic sound transcends powerfully live, even with just one amp on stage. Their fans have no problem keeping up with the energy either, as depicted by permanent smiles and head nods that didn’t miss a beat.
Throughout the show, Saunier would leave his drumset for the center mic stand to provide the night’s stage banter while the band tunes their instruments. The rest of the evening featured a plethora of songs from all over Deerhoof’s catalog. “Polly Bee,” “Paradise Girls,” “Plastic Thrills,” and “Bad Kids to the Front” are just a fraction of the selection; we’ll leave the entire setlist below.
As the show reached the end, Matsuzaki introduced the final song as a song about the Bay Area’s favorite sport: basketball. And just as “Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back” walks you through the happenings of the game, Matsuzaki led the crowd through dance moves to accompany the verse, “Rebound rebound / Rebound rebound ready okay!”
Supporting Deerhoof were dreamy folk pop group Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant and Mayya and the Revolutionary Hell Yeah, who were jam-packed with rock ‘n roll spirit. Both bands shared similar elements to Deerhoof and opened the night perfectly.
Words and photos by Rianna Chloe Catajan.