I feel like I’ve barely had a chance to wrap my head around all the great live sets I caught at the Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend, but Deerhunter’s set was easily one of my favorites. I noticed that someone did a full rip of the webcast video and put it up on YouTube, so I highly recommend at least checking out a few minutes of this one.

Deerhunter at pitchfork 2k11

Setlist (w/ timestamps):
0:00 – Intro (White Ink)
04:33 – Desire Lines
11:20 – Hazel St.
14:57 – Don’t Cry
19:12 – Revival
22:24 – Little Kids
27:20 – Nothing Ever Happened
42:25 – Helicopter
48:24 – He Would Have Laughed

I love Deerhunter’s studio work, but these guys also put on a killer live show. Their Pitchfork set featured a raw, powerful, and experimental brand of rock’n’roll, awash with psychedelic flourishes, guitar pyrotechnics and even some extended bouts of improvisation. Bradford Cox made thorough use of his effects pedals and vocal loops, especially towards the latter end of the set, creating a washed-out, reverb-laden kind of psychedelia during “Helicopter” and “He Would Have Laughed.”

I think the highlight of the set was probably this especially out-there version of “Nothing Ever Happened,” complete with long-form jamming, vocal improv freak-outs, and of course, that face-melting finger-tapping guitar riff that Cox busts out to end the tune. The riff starts at about ~37:40 here, and for the really nerdy guitar bros, check out Cox sets up that riff as a loop and then at ~38:20 changes the loop’s tempo to make it go double-time; you can hear it play through in the song’s outro as they fade into Helicopter. And, man, it’s playing like this that makes me think that these are the days of fastly-fading distinctions between “indie rock” and “jamband.” Deerhunter jams. Dig it.


You can also check out my full photo set from the festival over on flickr.