The last time Deerhunter played Las Vegas, the acclaimed indie rockers pulled around 200 bodies to a room—Hard Rock Live—that holds 1,000. Expect Sunday night’s show at the far-more-intimate Bunkhouse Saloon to draw better, if not sell out, in part because those who witnessed that epic 2013 performance likely won’t risk missing the follow-up.
If you missed it, and especially if you’ve never seen Deerhunter before, here are three reasons to consider snagging tickets before they’re gone.
1. The songbook. Few bands have produced a catalog as consistently dazzling as Deerhunter’s over the past decade. Dating back to 2007’s Cryptograms, the Atlanta outfit has delivered six albums and two EPs worthy of inclusion in any post-2000 collection, chiefly 2008’s Microcastle and 2010’s Halcyon Digest, both of which ranked among Pitchfork’s year-end top 10 and continue to hold down spots inside the top 10 for those years among user-generated Rateyourmusic.com charts.
Without spoiling the specifics, so far Deerhunter’s 2017 setlists have sampled from four of those six LPs and both EPs, and have included both obvious “hits” and deeper fan favorites. Interestingly enough, one record the band has yet to cull from, Cryptograms, was released on January 29, 2007—which means it will turn 10 the very night of the Vegas show. Hmm ...
2. The setting. The night before Deerhunter plays the 250-cap Bunkhouse, it will play the Forum in LA—capacity 18,000. That’s because the group has been touring as support for Kings of Leon, playing giant arenas like New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Chicago’s United Center. Deerhunter has also sprinkled in some headlining shows, but those venues have been larger than the Bunkhouse—considerably in some cases.
Basically, that means Las Vegans get a chance to get closer—even at the very back of the room—to the six-piece band than any other audience thus far this year. Onstage, Deerhunter tends to feed off its audience’s energy (see: that 2013 Hard Rock Live show, in which a rapt response by the faithful few attendees earned them a four-song, 30-minute encore), so an enthusiastic, packed house could produce another night for the ages.
3. The man. More than most rock frontmen these days, Bradford Cox brings a real sense of theater to the stage. Three years ago on the Strip, he connected with the crowd not only with his hypnotic music—at its best a sort of spiralling, controlled chaos—but also with his physical presence, swaying and slithering more like Iggy Pop or Ian Curtis than any of his modern contemporaries.
He’s not always fully engaged like that (see: Coachella 2016’s first weekend, which found Cox and his bandmates coming down with a case of mid-afternoon malaise), but when Cox clicks, few bands out there can touch a locked-in Deerhunter.
Deerhunter January 29, 9:30 p.m., $20. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-854-1414.