I came not knowing entirely what to expect, only that it would be unequivocably odd. It would be the first time that I would witness cult US band Deerhoof, a band whose predilection towards the off-beat precedes them. My first visit as well to The Dome, which turned out to be a splendid venue indeed, nicely laid out with a great sound system and a buzzing atmosphere.
Continuing this run of firsts came Leeds trio Cowtown, whose cacophonous set had just begun as we entered the live room. Sharp, angular guitars and bass heavy keys explode from the stage in jagged, distorted shapes. A fine introduction indeed.
Next up are Portuguese sister duo Pega Monstro, who set about making dreamy shoegaze shapes with guitar, drums and reverb laden vocal harmonies. There’s a touch of punked up snarl in Maria Reis’ riffs too and sister Júlia’s drumming is both emphatic and explorative. I’ve never really looked into the Portuguese music scene before, on the basis of this set, I shall be doing so imminently.
Props then to promoters Upset The Rhythm for a tremendous line-up and things only get better when headliners Deerhoof make their way onto the stage. Within seconds I’m hooked. The whirlwind of sounds coming from the stage is staggering, a dizzying, disorienting maze of sound – it’s as if they’ve taken all of the guitar music there ever was, chucked it into a centrifuge and whirled it around a few times before unleashing this indie-funk-punk-lo-fi-pop-rock-jazz-grunge-post-art-prog-psyche-disco creation upon the world. And they do it all with such infectious enthusiasm and charm that it’s impossible not to be swept away by the sheer joyousness of it all. Satomi skipping around the front of the stage, urging the crowd to join her in singing the words to ‘Panda Panda Panda’, guitarists John and Ed, polar opposites either side of her: one hunched over his instrument in concentration, the other pulling off every rock guitarist pose in the book, while drummer Greg, whose between song monologues are a delight in themselves, pulls off acrobatic changes in tempo, seemingly at will.
This is a special band indeed, catch them as soon as you can and join the party.
Review and Photography by Paul Maps
deerhoof.net / pegamonstro.bandcamp.com / cowtown.bandcamp.com