Deer Hoof


The Breakup Song Album Tour, The Annandale Hotel, 02/03/2013

In the streets of Sydney, Australia, the Mardi Gras parade showered the city with a rainbow and partied the night away. But down an extensively long road, a big party was about to erupt. Japanese/American experimental band Deerhoof was playing in Sydney. The last time Deerhoof played for the Sydney Festival, and fans were a bit let down, not by the band, but the event organizers who gave them a small play time and followed them up with a live DJ set. But much to everyone’s relief, they are back in town touring their newest album Break Up Songs.

Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier was spotted early in the night. Firstly, at the merch table selling a small, but palatable, array of merchandise, then meandering through the crowd, keen to listen to what the Australian musicians had to offer.

Kicking off the festivities were local band, Drum Drum with an explosion of tunes. The three piece band appeared and looked like they took inspiration from Deerhoof themselves-with their take on a playful type of rock. However, the vocalist’s stage presence wasn’t warm. Only a short set of songs were showcased and the atmosphere was set for a good night.

Following a mild break and sound check, Sydney band, Mere Woman took to the stage. Another three piece band and what appeared to be a mild alternative band on stage quickly changed into an explosion of a dark and haunting plethora of music. With an excellent drum line backed with keyboards and guitar, Mere Women proved to be a well polished band. Female vocalist Amy filled the air with her hypnotically lyrics accompanied by her fantastic vocals. The floor quickly filled with eager ears. They also attracted the members of Deerhoof who were visibly watching from the side of the stage. All this was greatly helped by the drummer’s excellent skills behind the skins. The crowd later found that the drummer was a fill in as their band mate Katrina was “…frolicking in Tokyo”.

With an impressive performance like that, patrons had big expectations from Deerhoof. Luckily, they did not disappoint. Instantly, Vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki began bopping and dancing with bass in hand as they opened the night with Dummy Discards a Heart then followed it up with more fan favorites including Chandelier Searchlight, Panda Panda Panda and Buck and Judy to deliver an explosive start to a brilliant set.

Some after, drummer Greg Saunier took a brief break between songs to take the microphone to make note of the photographer who was getting a bit too close to the band and began poking fun at the chance that his extensive perspiration could lead to him losing grip of one of the drum sticks and possibly breaking either his expensive camera lens, or not so expensive camera. He also took that opportunity to mention that the next song was dedicated to the person wearing the San Francisco shirt, but didn’t buy it from San Francisco or has never been to San Francisco. Satomi-san then took that chance to expalin that she had run out of water, to everyone’s “naw” and “aw-ing”.

The band swiftly jumped back into their set with both new and old songs with a playful sound. Deerhoof continued to play a set of 14 songs concluding with We Do Parties. The band then left the stage to a flood of applause that keep rolling until long after they left the stage. This sign of appreciation was then returned with an encore. Deerhoof came back with two more songs, much to the audience’s delight. After finishing their finale, Guitarist Ed Rodriguez and vocalist Satomi-san displayed a guitar and bass axe duel on stage.

The band then departed with another flood of applause, and then the house lights turned on. The crowd herded out the door with cheers from patrons with instant reviews of the magic they had just experienced. Deerhoof was a band both musically talented and crowd pleasing, and this night will be a night Sydney fans will be talking about for a long time.


Review by: Jason Mirah