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Deerhoof - "Fever 121614" | Album Review

by Hannah Liuzzo

Recorded and filmed live in Tokyo, Deerhoof’s Fever 121614 is a multimedia offering (video & audio) that, in 40 minutes, compacts 10+ years of music into a tightly tailored, 12 track live set. It’s the perfect intro into Deerhoof’s expansive and eccentric discography for a new listener, and a brilliant reminder to old fans why this band is so, so important. 

Deerhoof booked the live recording/filming for Fever 121614 with their Japanese label and then, admittedly, straight up forgot about it, which is kind of awesome. What could render a more genuine performance than a complete and total lack of awareness? Their authenticity translates in the audio and visual--the band looks like a group of total misfits on stage, but they perform and communicate with strange precision and subtlety, airing the sense that the whole act could cave in on itself, but secretly it’s perfectly balanced. 

Despite the fact that Fever 121614 was filmed and recorded on their 2014 tour supporting La Isla Bonita, the set list borrows from 7 different releases over an 11 year span. 11 years! They didn’t have to do that—they didn’t have to dust off and revive songs from 2003 and get them tour-ready, but they did. And they play them with the same amount of intensity and awareness as their new releases, integrating their early 90s roots in improvisation with their contemporary machine gun style.

The record stands alone as its own masterfully engineered real-time slice of art rock, but the video footage is the real treat in the package. Shot and edited in a manner as spastic and frantic as Deerhoof’s music, the energy of the band and audience is vibrantly captured and broadcasted. Satomi Matsuzaki power-dances like a cheerleader while the rest of the band is still, concentrated, and precise—an adorable and entertaining juxtaposition. Standout moments are the guitar duets and pregnant pauses in “Paradise Girls”, the out of hand dance track “There’s That Grin”, and in the closer “Come See The Duck” when Matsuzaki stops the band to instruct the audience to shout the word “COME!” on command and in time with the band while they freak out together in fractal outbursts.

There’s a reason Deerhoof is at the top of everyone’s “must see live” list, and finally they’ve been documented and preserved in their finest form, sharply engineered and visually rendered. After over 20 years of being a band, this is the essential compilation that was missing from their catalogue—an authentic capture of a world class act completely in their element.

Set List:

"Exit Only" La Isla Bonita (2014)
"Paradise Girls" La Isla Bonita (2014)
"Let’s Dance the Jet" Deerhoof vs. Evil (2011)
"Doom" La Isla Bonita (2014)
"Fresh Born" Offend Maggie (2008)
"We Do Parties" Breakup Song (2012)
"Buck and Judy" Offend Maggie (2008)
"Dummy Discards a Heart" Apple O (2003)
"Twin Killers" The Runners Four (2005)
"I Did Crimes For You" Deerhoof vs. Evil (2011)
"There’s That Grin" Breakup Song (2012)
"Come See The Duck" Green Cosmos (2005)