Live: Questlove Puts The World On Shuffle At BAM

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Ed Lefkowitz/BAM
Shuffle Culture
Howard Gilman Opera House
Friday, April 20

Better than: Celebrating "4/20."

Questlove's "Shuffle Culture" event—at which ten or so musical acts performed a handful of songs each, but never more than one at a time, as if the set list itself were on shuffle—was at once strange and familiar. On one level, the premise was anticipatory, predicting a future where concertgoers won't have the time or patience for a low-concept, single-band show. On the other, one could see the evening's roots: in the mixtape, the DJ set, the all-star benefit concert, the R&B revue. And it was this marriage of old and new—analog and digital—that permeated the night, a constant reminder that, as Q-Tip famously told his daddy, things go in cycles.

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Q&A: Deerhoof's Greg Saunier On Keeping Communication Open, Releasing A 7-Inch With Jeff Tweedy, And Finding Beauty On The G Train Platform

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After a recent boisterous and discordant performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Deerhoof's dressing room briefly felt like the center of the indie universe. Hanging out and sipping on the beer and wine that usually go to waste (Deerhoof is more of a tea-swilling bunch) were members of The Dirty Projectors, Yeasayer, The Fiery Furnaces, The Soft Circle, and Lichens—young, boundary-pushing musicians at the heart of their scene, all ardent admirers of a band whose music usually belies a greater sense of calamity then cool. Before the impromptu after-show party took off, though, two other sets of visitors popped backstage to gleefully meet the band: a pair of wide-eyed stoner adolescents, and Kronos Quartet violinist David Harrington and a friend. The amazement and appreciation on all the visitors' faces was far from dissimilar.

That broad-ranging appeal has allowed Deerhoof to continue to make challenging music the way they like, even if they admittedly never have any idea what they want to create. Having recently completed a tour of Europe and Japan with Congotronics Vs. Rockers—an African street music meets American avant-garde collaboration between Deerhoof, Konono #1, Kasai Allstars, Juana Molina, Wildbirds and Peacedrums, and Skeletons—the band's own U.S. tour continues with an appearance at this weekend's ATP I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Asbury Park. Deerhoof's free, just-released live album, 99% Upset Feeling, captures the mystifying urgency of their performances; it also contains covers that illustrate the band's devotion to both childlike bliss (Canned Heat's "Going Up to the Country") and caustic uproar (The Ramones' "Pinhead"). Drummer and recent Brooklyn transplant Greg Saunier talked with us about the lack of structure and prognostication in his band's creative endeavors, the coolness of Jeff Tweedy's offspring, the chaotic beauty of helming a 19-piece band, and whether or not one can have a perfect New York moment.


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Deerhoof's Ridgewood Masonic Temple Show Next Month Has Moved

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Last week brought the discouraging news that Ridgewood Masonic Temple, the flourishing Bushwick DIY venue that hosted some bitchin' Todd P shows last year, was going dry effective immediately, owing to some liquor-license snafus; given that promoters are generally fond of selling alcohol, many of its upcoming events have been/will be relocated. Add perhaps the spot's biggest imminent show to that list.

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