Posted by: martinworster | October 13, 2007

77. DEERHOOF AND MACROMANTICS

A youth club in San Diego to see a female Australian rapper and a experimental three piece noise outfit…

Went to see some bands the other night in San Diego. The venue was strange – it was like a youth club and if you had a lighter or cigarettes they confiscated them as you walked in the door. I found that a bit authoritarian but not that surprising in the US. I wondered if they’d had a spate of pyromaniacs in the venue recently. The venue also didn’t sell alcohol. Overall it was very puritanical. I’m used to seeing concerts in London which are pissed up, smoky, swaying affairs and all the better for it in my opinion.

But then, I was glad the next day when I woke up sans hangover and my clothes didn’t smell like they’d rolled around in an ashtray.

I was there to see Deerhoof who are an experimenal band from San Francisco. I hadn’t really heard of them, it was my friend Eric who got the tickets and tipped them as being worth seeing.

There were two support acts. I forget the name of the first one but they didn’t really do it for me. The second warm up was ace. She was Macromantics a female rapper with a big hair do and old skool aesthetics. At first I thought she was British as I could detect an accent and she said things like ‘bloody’ in her rhyme (as in bloody hell). I later found out she was Australian. She had a great stage presence and there is something liberating about seeing females do hip hop. Her DJ was also female and the whole vibe was old skool, with basic beats and bass for the backing tracks.

Macromantics also did some spoken word stuff which reminded me of Saul Williams. It was quite intense and lyrically dextrous, if a bit surreal at times, but definitely very impressive. I think like me most people came never having heard of her and left making mental notes to watch out for her.

Then came Deerhoof. They were a three piece band with a striking Japanese girl playing bass and singing unique and hauting, if indecipherable, vocals. I like to think of myself as open minded and willing to test the boundaries of creativity with music that pushes boundaries. Clearly, Deerhoof, with their lack of conventional structure, seem to be doing that. It’s just that I wasn’t connecting with them. Many of the fans at the front clearly were, so maybe I’m old fashioned. Even though they tried to defy form, most of the songs had the same unrelenting structure and after a while it wore a bit thin with this listener. Maybe if I could have had a drink and a smoke I would have walked away loving them.

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