The Ponys | 04.21.07

live_ponysThe best fun of Deerhunter's set came when frontman Bradford Cox announced that they would play a song they wrote about the Ponys (which they described as a "gay dance song").

 

 

 

 

 

w/Deerhunter, Jumbling Towers
The Billiken Club, St. Louis

Internet buzz can do wonders for a band. Blogs and online publications like Pitchfork can take an unknown band and turn it into the next big thing. Two such buzz bands, the Ponys and Deerhunter, came to the also up-and-coming Billiken Club for a night of trance-inducing rock. Both bands have been earning huge critical acclaim and will also be playing Pitchfork Music Festival this summer. The young venue was packed with more people than ever; and the crowd was certainly in for an exciting night of music.

The show started with a set from local St. Louis indie rock act Jumbling Towers. I was really surprised at how tight this group sounded. They played a mix of dancey beats and jerky guitars that reminded me of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Though some people may have been put off by the David Byrne like talky/yelpy vocals, the overall reaction was very positive for the hometown guys.

Next up was the experimental young Deerhunter. This band set, which was mostly comprised of songs from their new hit Cryptograms, was very enigmatic. Using an insane amount of voice distortion (though the vocals were mostly inaudible due to the loud instruments), the group's set was a mix of long drones and hard hitting rock. This created a sort of unpredictable atmosphere to the whole show. The best fun of the set came when frontman Bradford Cox announced that they would play a song they wrote about the Ponys (which they described as a "gay dance song"). When their set ended, the crowd was left divided, half of them scratching their heads and half jumping for joy.

The Ponys delivered a comparatively straightforward set after Deerhunter's drones and the crowd was ready for some rock. The quartet launched into a set of songs from their 2007 release Turn the Lights Out. The band, though, did not really seem to be into it this evening. They barely said a word to the crowd and appeared to be rushing through the songs to finish their set. This is not to say, though, that their performance was bad. Though the vocals were again mostly covered with the hard hitting bass and guitar, the crowd remained enthralled. Catchy riffs and beats were in full force for songs like "Double Vision." Their crunchy guitar rock induced a good amount of head banging and hip swinging from the enthusiastic crowd. It was a story of quality over quantity though, with the set ending after a mere 45 minutes.

It was a real treat to see these two critically acclaimed bands for free in such a small venue. That is the charm of the Billiken Club. It's amazing to see these kinds of acts in such an intimate venue (and did I mention that the shows are free?). Don't hesitate to check out the new albums for Deerhunter and the Ponys and be sure to check out the Billiken Club whenever you can. It's the next great indie-rock venue in St. Louis. | Pete Wissinger

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