Bradford Cox' gig last Friday in Minneapolis as Atlas Sound turned out to be quite a spectacle. Something was going on inside his head. A local newspaper stated that “things felt a little awkward” from the start, when the Deerhunter leader took the stage, sporting a black ski mask. Everything was going according to plan at first, with songs from his latest album, "Parallax " (4AD, 2011), and a cover version of Beat Happening's “ Youth”. But then, a requested cover of The Knack's classic “ My Sharona”. Bradford accepted, but his version, cryptic and noisy, lasted a full hour. To top it off, he then told the man who'd requested the song to come on stage and strip down to his underwear. “This is what happens when you make requests”, he kept repeating.
During the track, Cox started doing a spoken word bit, comparing himself to Patti Smith, talking about the passage of time and the end of our lives. He also defended his art and simulated fellatio. He then asked the audience to get naked, pick up their chairs and shake them above their heads, before inviting them all to come on stage. When he was finished, he said goodbye; dedicating his show to “the death of folk music and the birth of punk”. We don't know whether Cox had gone momentarily potty, but this kind of thing is a slap in the face of the predictable and innocuous rock and pop we see on too many stages these days.