Deerhoof played Crystal Ballroom – 5/4

Long-running art-rockers Deerhoof opened their east coast spring tour at the Crystal Ballroom earlier this month with support from Easthampton’s Editrix.

It’s perhaps easy to take Deerhoof for granted. Active since the mid-90s and prolific most of the way, the foursome are seemingly always on the road behind some project or another. The catch-’em-next-time mentality can set in for bands like that on the calendar of the frequent concertgoer, and hence, I’d never actually seen Deerhoof play a headlining set – only festival snippets and as erstwhile Of Montreal openers. A shame for a group whose playful, technical, zig-zagging music really shines on stage.

I finally righted that wrong a few weeks back, when the band rolled into Somerville’s Crystal Ballroom for their first local stop post-pandemic. With three albums under their belt since The Big Shutdown, Deerhoof had plenty of new material to draw from, but wound up playing a far-ranging set that didn’t settle itself into any one particular era. Material both new and old (including a section of the loopy 2020 covers/mashup collection Love-Lore) sounded excellent, highlighted by kinetic performances from the whole band (that’s high-flying bassist Satomi Matsuzaki, guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez and founding drummer Greg Saunier, absolutely playing the hell out of one of the more minimalist kits I’ve ever seen on stage with a rock band). A great first (and hopefully not last) Deerhoof gig for me.

Openers Editrix, hailing from Western Mass, were a perfect fit for the bill with their shred-y, exuberant art-punk. Check out photos of both bands below.