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Even Deerhunteristas prone to love everything that comes from Bradford Cox and his band (and given the prolific output of Cox, his side-project Atlas Sound and guitarist Lockett Pundt and his side project, Lotus Plaza, that’s a lot) seemed at a loss during sizable chunks of the group’s Sept. 9 show at the Fine Line in Minneapolis.
After a punky, almost Tragic Mulatto-ish opening set by Marnie Stern, Cox hit the stage in a Cramps T-shirt and a moppy black wig that looked like it might have been sported by Liz Taylor at the bitter end of a lost weekend.
The concert’s beginning, like parts of its middle and end, featured not songs from Deerhunter’s hot 2013 “Monomania” CD, not songs from the critical-darling “Halcyon Digest” (2010) and “Microcastle” (2008) CDs, but rather percussive tape loops and pain-inducing squalls of pulsating feedback.
In a decision that can’t have been made with the audience in mind, maybe 30 minutes of the 2-hour stage time was devoted to feedback. During these intervals, fans mostly stood stock still, unsure whether to head for the exits, stab themselves in the ear or remain in place for the moment when a chord or rim shot signalled an actual song.
Cox didn’t disappoint those who like their indie-rock demiurges to keep the show in showbiz. No thrift-store dresses for him on this hot night, but he did some crotch grabbing, shook a pair of maracas during the song “T.H.M.,” rolled around on the floor a good deal, drooled copiously, balanced his spindly 6’4” frame atop the bass drum, ripped his wig off, and jumped into the crowd to chase a rambunctious fan who grabbed his wig at another moment.
Deerhunter did reveal its sensitive-side artistry in the guitar-drums-songwriting departments. Cox was at his plaintive, vulnerable best on such older songs as “Agoraphobia” (“come for me, cover me, comfort me….”), where the tender lyric is washed and rinsed by three guitars, and the chug-ahead and tuneful “Nothing Ever Happened.”
Of the songs from “Monomania,” Deerhunter and Cox lit the fuse most convincingly on the title track and on “T.H.M,” with its sparkling arpeggio opening for lead guitar.
The “down South boogie” section of the evening had its moments, sounding like Allman Brothers on both speed and acid, but went on too long. Same goes for the ultra-repetitive final number, when I alternated between feeling sorry for myself and pitying the excellent drummer, Moses Archuleta, who appeared bound for the RSI clinic.
Margaret Cho is on the Wits fall lineup. Photo by Richie Arpino.
Wits, the popular American Public Media show hosted by John Moe that teams comedians (and other big personalities) with musicians at the Fitzgerald Theatre for a live performance that is later broadcast on radio and available via podcast, boasts a roster of bold-face names, including recently departed Vike Chris Kluwe, headliner comics Margaret Cho, David Cross and Jim Gaffigan, and Minnesota funny-girl-done-good Maria Bamford. Highlights on the music side include Aimee Mann, Yo La Tengo and, in an apparent bid to rack up every talented Wainwright alive, Rufus and Martha's dad, Loudon Wainwright III.
See witsradio.org for more info. Here's the lineup:
Thursday, October 17: Chris Kluwe, Dave Hill, and musical guest Sara Watkins
Thursday, October 24: Paul F. Tompkins and musical guest Yo La Tengo
Friday, October 25: Paul F. Tompkins and musical guest Rhett Miller
Friday, November 1: Aisha Tyler and musical guest Loudon Wainwright III
Thursday, November 7: Ellie Kemper and musical guest Waxahatchee
Thursday, November 14: Margaret Cho and musical guest Josh Ritter
Thursday, November 21: Jim Gaffigan and musical guest Busdriver
Thursday, December 5: Tim Heidecker and musical guests Aimee Mann and Ted Leo (solo)
Friday, December 13: David Cross and musical guest Har Mar Superstar
Friday, December 20: Maria Bamford and musical guest Thao Nguyen
David Cross will appear in the Wits series with local legend Har Mar Superstar.
POST BY ANDREW WAGAMAN
The Minnesota Fringe Festival opened this weekend, attracting about 7,000 people to 352 performances and selling 17,758 tickets.
Five of the best-reviewed shows so far have been “The Zebra Shirt,” “The Nose,” “Fashion Risk or the Accidental Nudist,” “Hickory Minimum Security Correctional Facility Presents: Hoosiers: The Stage Adaptation” and "The Legend of White Woman Creek." To see when they play next, check out our calendar.
For more Fringe fun, head over to Fringe Central at the Crooked Pint on Monday night for Karaoke and Tuesday night for Trivia. Karaoke begins at 11 p.m.; Trivia sign-up begins at 10:30 p.m., with questions starting at 11:15.
Patrick Scully hopes he'll be marryin' up a storm of same-sex couples the moment it becomes legal on Aug. 1. Photo taken in 2012 by Kyndell Harkness.
Patrick Scully plans to put his sideline as a minister to all-encompassing use when the clock strikes midnight on July 31. Aug.1 marks the first day that gays and lesbians can legally marry in Minnesota, so the performance artist and founder of Patrick's Cabaret is inviting as many same-sex couples who so desire to come on down to the theater at 3010 Minnehaha Av. in Minneapolisand get hitched in a mass ceremony to be held at the crack of at 12:01.
There will be no charge; the only requirement is a pre-obtained official marriage license.
The festivites begin at 10:30 p.m. and will rock on until 1 a.m., with music dancing and of course, a bit of wedding cake. The event is free and open to the public, but if you plan on saying vows, please rsvp to amy@patrickscabaret so they can get a head count.
After taking last year off, the Uptown Pride Block Party is back on this year. The free event, produced by Bryant Lake Bowl, happens Friday, June 28, from 6 to 10 p.m., rain or shine. It's at Lake Street and Bryant Av. S. in Minneapolis.
The just-announced set times at the bandstand are:
6:00-6:30 Southside Desire
6:45-7:20 Sick of Sarah
7:35-8:10 Dykes Do Drag
8:25-9:05 Chastity Brown
9:05-9:20 STREET - Tipsy Bike Karaoke *Located by the BLB parking lot, sign up early to reserve your song!
Also slated to entertain are Epitome No Question, MC Foxy Tann and the North Star Roller Girls. Food and beer (Fulton, Lagunitas, Bell's, PBR, more) will be on sale.
The zero-waste event will benefit OutFront MN.
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