Many have argued that Deerhoof is objectively the best band in the world. Yeah, that’s probably a bit hyperbolic, but ath the Vera Project last week, Deerhoof made that radical claim seem like an understatement.
Coming off of their new record, Breakup Song, Deerhoof seems to be just as on their game as they ever have. They also look great, too. Satomi, the sub five foot Japanese rock goddess, designed outfits for the band. Don’t those tassels look great? Ok, that’s beside the point.
Metaphorically speaking, Deerhoof is your humble and totally cool world traveling uncle. Simply put, they are super cool and nice humans. They not only played Seattle’s classic all-ages venue The Vera Project and sold their own merch, they made an effort to talk to everyone who was there.
Drummer Greg Saunier even wandered shoe-less through the halls of The Vera dripping in sweat and acting as cordial as humanly possible. It was refreshing to see a band so talented and seasoned interact with every willing person.
It was also refreshing to see their reworked old tunes and glitched out new ones. Deerhoof is one of the few bands to have a strong sense of cohesive reinvention: no album sounds totally alike yet all of their songs indicate that they’re by Deerhoof. It’s bizarre, but they manage to pull it off.
They pulled it off at The Vera, too. They played a couple crucial cuts off of their 2008 release, Offend Maggie, like “Snoopy Waves” and “The Perfect Me,” but they were by no means identical to the record. I think Deerhoof is able to make it happen through their incessant improvisation. They don’t seem to be 100% content with any performance because they love the subtle failures of improv. Greg Saunier even sets his drum set up differently nearly every show as a means of keeping him on his toes.
As a record, Breakup Song stands apart from most other works by Deerhoof. It’s more glitchy and party oriented, but it stays true to the nature of the band. Don’t expect them to come through and not have a good time. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they played a house show the next time they come through - they did so at SxSW last year.
Deerhoof is a band you have to see live. They’re one of the most respected bands in the world and they continue to inspire the artists you love (TV on the Radio, St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens). It would be a shame to miss such a humbling and sincere act of human nature the next time they come through.