Live: Deerhunter/Aldous Harding/Jock Gang

jockgang4WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL — 10/9/16: The Deerhunter concert was one I had been looking forward to since the last time I was able to see them in concert, which, unfortunately, was several years ago at SXSW — far too long.

The evening began with Jock Gang, a band from Atlanta that I wasn’t familiar with, but their pounding noise-rock-meets-Velvet Underground sound grew on me as they played. Personal note: I spent much of their set familiarizing myself with the amazing lighting at White Oak Music Hall. It was my first time there, and I thought to myself, “If the lighting for the openers is this great, I can’t wait for what’s in store later!”

Next up was Aldous Harding, a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. After the noise-rock band, you would think an acoustic act that would be more at home at the Mucky Duck would run into problems with people chatting over her set, but as soon as she began, the crowd became Mucky Duck-level quiet.

aldousharding2Most likely, no one there knew Harding five minutes before she began, but guaranteed, no one would soon forget her arresting voice and perfect nylon-string guitar picking.

Between songs, she thanked the crowd for being so big and yet quiet. Later in the set she asked us for a favor as she sung “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the phone to a little girl named Noelle across the world, and right on cue, we all shouted, “Happy Birthday, Noelle!” Hopefully Ms. Harding returns to Houston, and we can all join her and bring some friends to see her.

Of course, I knew Deerhunter was going to be a fun experience, but this was not a regular Deerhunter show. Bradford Cox seemed to be preoccupied with the Presidential debate that was being held that night. He told us they were not at all a political band, and they hate when bands preach from the stage… But even so, they wanted to express their displeasure.

deerhunter6Anyway, Cox didn’t get into too much detail about his preoccupation, but something did seem to rankle Cox through the evening, and it was genuinely endearing. I should also mention how friendly he was with his avid fans, shaking or holding many hands of people on the front row. He even took a request for “Back to the Middle,” a song that the band hadn’t played in years but quickly refreshed their memories of while Cox talked to the audience.

Cox realized he didn’t remember all the lyrics and called the fan, a young man by the name of Giles, up to sing the song he requested. It was one of those kinds of nights when all the rules went out the window, and everyone was better for it.

Toward the end of the concert, I made my way to the back for some photos of the whole room and watched in amazement at their encore, a cover of Patti Smith‘s “Horses.” END

(Photos [top to bottom]: Jock Gang; Aldous Harding; Deerhunter. All photos by Jason Smith.)


Live review by . Live review posted Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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