There’s no denying that 2008 has been a scarlet year for Mr. Bradford Cox. Along with his successful run under the nom de plume Atlas Sound, the many hours he’s put in as executive director of Deerhunter Inc. are now paying off nicely. Not only did his band release a corker of a double album, Microcastle/Weird Era Cont., they’ve also unofficially become the year’s indie rock darlings, even snagging a high-profile opening spot for Nine Inch Nails along the way.
Cox and Co. must have learned a few tricks from their recent arena tour, like the importance of playing road-tested material and, you know, songs people actually want to hear (“Nothing Ever Happened,” “Lake Somerset,” “Never Stops”), while avoiding the meandering experiments that account for roughly a third of their recorded output. And, like tonight, to run the show as a professional and efficient touring machine: doing away with amateur PA issues, eliminating limp banter during songs, and nixing Cox’s usual melodrama and awkward stage antics. Instead, Deerhunter established the position that they are now in contention to be an indie legacy act and not just a gaggle of talented social rejects from the backwoods of Georgia.
As for openers Times New Viking, the Ohioan trio played a raw and concise set reminiscent of the early ’90s glory days. Their sound fell somewhere between Swell Maps (okay, early Pavement) and the scrappier side of the Flying Nun roster. The band focused their songs around organ hooks accompanied by chugging guitar and heavy on the bass-drum, rinse and repeat. Not groundbreaking stuff, but if you missed the indie rock/lo-fi explosion the first time around, this is what it sounded like—just not as jaw-dropping and seminal as those historians would have you believe.