Deerhunter play Heaven – I haven't been there since back in like, er 2001, as I have always found it rather annoying, but this time we find a relatively squish-free haven near the front, craning our necks to peer up at the exceedingly high stage. Why is it that high? It's insane! The sound is apparently set up for big beaty club nights, and as a result some of the sonic subtlety of Deerhunter's shivery guitar creepiness is lost. Indeed at one point the thump of the bass drum near splits my head in twain. I'm all for a colosally thunderous noise that erases your very being, but nuance can be cool too you know. Still, sometimes the guitars sound like stained glass and roundabouts, and make me hold my breath with happiness.
The lighting is amazing and makes you realise how much more can be done with a decent rig, rather than the usual red and blue lights turning on and off a bit. Maybe it would be nice to see the band a bit more as they’re mostly obscured by the atmospherics, but having the music emerge from these shadowy figures partly obscured by a gauze of pale light kind of adds to the foggy mystique of it all. There is very little band/audience interaction, possibly due to the fact that Deerhunter are towering high above us. At one point Cox ventures a little way down one of the staircases leading from the stage and slings an arm around a slightly bemused bouncer. Later he asks whether we’ve all voted and suggests that better music was made by a Britain opressed by Thatcher.
The majority of the set is taken from ‘Microcastle’, with a sprinkling of tunes from across the band’s output, including the ‘Cryptograms’ monster ‘Strange Lights’ as the feedback-laden closer. We also get more new songs, ‘Revival’ and ‘Helicopter’. Exciting! Despite the curious sound and odd stage, Deerhunter are mesmerising and powerful and until now the idea that this band had much in common with My Bloody Valentine never really rang true with me. I’ve listened to their records obsessively, but now Deerhunter make all new kinds of sense.