Yann Tiersen/Deerhoof (South Side Music Hall):Interesting pairing of two quality but rather different acts. Yann Tiersen has made a career of making fairly conventional arrangements attractive to those that fancy themselves as seekers of things strange, while Deerhoof has done the opposite: making fairly unconventional music safe for those that don’t usually listen to music like “that.”
Tiersen has had the kind of collaborative and interpretive help that you would have to look far and wide to equal, working with arguably some of the greatest singers of the past 100 years: Jane Birkin, Shannon Wright, and The Cocteau Twins‘ Elizabeth Fraser. All have contributed essential entries to the pantheon of popular music. Fraser in particular was able to take the music conservatory-like feel of her soprano to places that pop rarely went.
Though Tiersen is clearly gifted and has had actual music school training, he never seems to break away from the soundtrack-ready predicability found throughout most of his music, and his best moments come when he is able to cede some of his creative space to others. And when that creative space is given up to those that have nearly flawless bodies of work, or at the very least, nearly flawless style, then, well, it doesn’t seem like such a task. That’s not to say that Tiersen is cheating, and he should be given all due credit for having such impeccable taste in those with whom he chooses to work. It’s just that those three could make just about anyone sound good.
Deerhoof have a career that was first built on Beefheart-influenced sonic prickle, but eventually fine-tuned to include unforgettable melodies and more listener considerate tendencies. Somehow they still always managed to include the rhythmically acrobatic structures and cartoonish vocals that made them such a favorite amongst both mainstream indie rock fans, as well as those with more intellectual musical interests who were willing to be challenged. Deerhoof has a completely recognizable sound, and that’s nothing to dismiss. But it seems that the plateau they have settled on is one that is decidedly less interesting and musically subversive than the earlier records where they seemed to be fooling fans of experimental music to listen to pop songs and vice versa.
There is a slickness to their newest record, Deerhoof VS Evil, that overpowers the group’s once wilder elements, and though they are still intact, it’s as if they now under glass. Deerhoof is a reliably entertaining live act, especially with the trickiness of their drumming coupled with the undeniably charming and inclusive nature of lead vocalist, Satomi Matsuzaki. They can get distant during the performance by jamming excessively, however I would never discourage anyone from seeing them live who has yet to do so.
Aces and Angels Salute To The Troops featuring Five For Fighting (Centennial Hall at Fair Park): This one is obviously for a good cause, but did Gene Simmons really need a key to the city or need to have Dallas name a street after him? Let us never forget this incredible moment in uncomfortable interview history (though, unfortunately, it’s no longer available on NPR’s website).
Cradle Of Filth/Nachtmystium (Palladium): Cradle of Filth hails from Suffolk County England, and lead singer Dani Filth was voted as a “favorite icon” by the citizens of Suffolk last month, notably beating out fellow resident Brian Eno, as well as a swimming pool. Unfortunately Mr. Filth was then disqualified for no real reason other than the potential embarrassment that such an association would cause the vote’s organizers, but that only adds to the hilarity.
Blogosphere Vol. 2: Doug Burr/Ryan Thomas Becker/Pretty In Pink/Dogdander (Club Dada): This fairly new event features different local blogs presenting shows on Wednesday nights at the recently reopened Dada. Tonight’s bill was selected by The Local Yokel Show, a podcast that has its origins in a local-centric DJ night at The Libertine.
Photo: Deerhoof via wikicommons