Deerhunter – El Paso – The Black Market, Texas – 2008-11-29

Where: El Paso – The Black Market, Texas.

When: 2008-11-29

It was a cold and quiet night and although the end of the Thanksgiving break was over and the start of a new week was just one day away, everything was put on hold for a great concert by one of the emerging and highly regarded bands currently making music in the indie world. Deerhunter and travel mates, Nite Jewel and Times New Viking, graced the Sun City with their terrific music and delivered one of the best concert experiences of 2008.

As the night grew weary, poppy Nite Jewel took the stage (well, there isn’t really a stage, just the corner of the room) and shared some good moments. Then, noisy rockers Times New Viking were introduced. Their loud, clashing set of sounds provided some good live music. I’m not a fan of their recorded material but in a live setting, it’s not bad.

After that, I was able to capture a spot, up and close, right near the front for Deerhunter. Bradford Cox and all of the members got their instruments together and arranged everything as fast as they could. During this time, I was able to stand right in front of Cox as he gathered and set up his equipment. I was anxious with excitement and approached him to ask for a signature, he was ecstatic and signed my arm in terrific fashion: “BRADFORD WAS HERE.” It was definitely something amazing.

All throughout their quick sound check, Cox entertained the crowd with stories and funny musings. A couple of drunk guys egged him on to say something funny and Cox obliged by sharing a story about a night renting scary movies and eating Little Caesar’s pizza. He prefaced this by saying, “Hey, I got a great story!” He then went on to tell a story of how him and his sister got free pizza from his sister’s friend who worked at the pizza place. They went home, enjoyed the movies and ate the food. The next morning Cox woke up to find his sister curled up, crying, on the couch. After some questioning, he shared that the same friend who “hooked us (them) up with pizza” was killed in a robbery that night before. The crowd was puzzled and not impressed but it was vintage Cox: unusual, great personality that sucks you in and surprising.

Later on, a drunk kid asked Cox if he liked Daniel Johnston. The fan was more than displeased when Cox replied, “Well, he’s OK, I guess.” The fan became angry and Cox replied, “I’d be that good too if I was super old and insane.” The crowd belt out in uproar of laughter and then as the kid’s friend defended him by yelling at Cox, “Well if you’re so good, play something!” Cox shut him up by turning on his amps and blasting his guitar to drown his screams. Yeah, some people in El Paso are very rude.

The band proceeded to tear into a concert filled with exceptional music. They performed songs off their latest album, Microcastle, and didn’t shy away from sharing music off last year’s Cryptograms. One of the show’s highlights was when they played “Cryptograms” and the beginning was stretched out into a minute long droning experience. The band plays very, very, very loud to the fact that it causes ear damage but yet, you can hear what each instrument is doing.

Guitarist Lockett Pundt had his back to the audience and seemed shy and reserved. Regardless, he provided some of the best riffs, while bassist Josh Fauver sat back and grooved away on his bass. Cox enjoyed rolling around the playing area; he would go up to Fauver and interact with him, sometimes he would grab his guitar and put it into his amp to show off his guitar skills, he even got right into drummer, Moses Archuleta’s, face to jam away. Newcomer, Whitney Petty held her own on the guitar and also provided a terrific harmonica solo towards the end of the show.

The band played the title track off this year’s album and also ripped into a great rendition of “Never Stops.” These versions were stretched into loud, blasting performances that feature Cox singing right into the microphone and harmonizing with the other instruments. The end was especially memorable because the band played various covers by The Ramones and others—Cox even teased the crowd when he played the opening strums to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It all came to an end with the band enjoying the last ten minutes, jamming out and creating their own music.

Cox and all the members of Deerhunter are some of the best guys and one gal! that I have ever met. After the show, they all sat outside and talked music with the fans. Cox declared his love for PJ Harvey and put all questions of the band breaking up to rest when he said, “I am never leaving Deerhunter, I love this band. No, never, this is my band, I love it” when asked about Atlas Sound. All in all, it was a fantastic night and although it went into some of Monday, it was well worth it.