It was one of those frigid nights towards the end of winter, where the only thing that poses a more significant threat to your sanity than the cold, is the thought of another night in. Luckily, I was on the list.
I grabbed some cash on the way to venue and drank a beer at Artichoke Pizza's pied à terre in Chelsea. I was surprised when the waitress smiled. I expected to serve myself and be confronted with a scowl. Artichoke's pizza tastes better on the street, the familiar ritual of their East Side location.
The ever unpredictable Deerhunter with the unflappable Marnie Stern. The lineup promised a good live show. In the words of my extremely sympathetic friend "I hope Bradford Cox plays a good show and then has a massive breakdown on stage."
Marnie Stern's brand of cute and awesome was firing on all cylinders. She blasted through her set without a backward glance, and raised appreciative cheers from the home town crowd.
Bradford Cox and Co took the stage with the poise and ease of a practiced troupe. Donning their instruments and striking their introductory chords, they sounded their claim to the throne of avant-garde indie rock at the casual pace of a southern drawl.
"Do you like my pants?" Bradford Cox asked the crowd, "They've got sturgeons on them."
Over the course of an hour and a half the network of delay effects and screaming pedaled guitars rose and fell, ascending to heightened crescendos of harmony, before collapsing into bouts of unrepentant chaos.
Each time the band return to a common harmony, it was against the backdrop of their tumultuous outpouring, a welcome relief, and an uneasy peace with their audience.
In the end Marnie Stern came out on stage, and Bradford Cox complained as she grabbed his butt "You can play with my butt all the time, just not when I'm playing the tricky guitar solos, that I practice." They got down on the front speaker and sat talking for a bit. They both seemed a bit drained and absent mindedly rambled about hanging out in New York and playing music for fifteen minutes, before playing a final song, and calling it a night. It a pretty casual ending to show, but the informality was appreciated in the end.