Deerhoof Busts Moves and Strings at VAC

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Deerhoof singer Satomi Matsuzaki leading the audience in a song at VAC.
  • Josh Gross
  • Deerhoof singer Satomi Matsuzaki leads the audience in a song at VAC Thursday night.

After decades in the biz and putting out more than a dozen albums, Pitchfork's "best band in the world," Deerhoof, played for the first time ever in Idaho Thursday night at Visual Arts Collective.

And it was a doozy.

The band's new album, Breakup Song, opens with an electronic ditty of the same name, using stuttered beats and blasts of noise to make dance beats. But onstage, the band mutated the song into thunderous-sounding garage-rock with jagged rhythms from blasts of giant overdriven guitars that the band played with violent thrashing motions.

It was a helluva presentation, and a giant difference from opening act Raleigh Moncrief's seemingly deliberate effort to bore the audience to tears by singing a set of dull ballads with an unaccompanied 12-string electric while seated.

Deerhoof's initial blast didn't last long, though. A string broke before the end of the first song, leading to an awkward break early in the set.

"What is it about Garden City that causes guitar strings to break by the end of track one," drummer Greg Saunier said, his enormous frame hunched down to the vocal mic set up for the band's tiny singer, Satomi Matsuzaki. Buke and Gase, the band that played before Deerhoof, had also busted a string early in its set. The difference was that Buke and Gase played extremely custom guitars that the singer said were made out of the hood of an MG Midget and the body of a washing machine that would've make it hard to have a spare. Deerhoof, on the other hand, could've just brought an extra guitar with them. Why didn't they? Who knows.

But once the string was replaced, the band jumped back into "Breakup Song," where it had left off and immeditly began kicking the audience's teeth in with raw guitars, swinging hips and oddly neutral vocals—the band's signature style.

The rest of the set passed without incident and was so well-received that Deerhoof had to play two encores, the second of which featured Matsuzaki leaving the stage to sing with the crowd while standing atop one of the rolling ottoman benches at VAC.

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