Deerhoof at SFMOMA, heavy metal at YBCA
Deerhoof — Greg Saunier, John Dieterich, Ed Rodriguez and Satomi Matsuzaki — was documented by filmmaker Adam Pendelton for his video installation, BAND, a reinterpretation of Jean-Luc Godard's 1968 film Sympathy for the Devil. Godard's original included scenes of the Rolling Stones working on the track from Beggar's Banquet, interlaced with clips of the Black Panthers. Pendelton's three channel video installation, shot in 2009 while Deerhoof was working on its most recent record Deerhoof vs. Evil, includes beautiful close-ups of the avant-garde musicians working on a song, mixed with audio footage of a day in the life of a politically conscious teenager.
The eight-hour shoot caught the band's first tinkering with "I Did Crimes For You," a deceptively upbeat, repetitious pop track that kicks off with clean guitar, hand-clapping, and Matsuzaki's recognizably high girlish vocals explaining: this is a stick-up/this is a stick-up/smash the windows.
"I don't know what other bands are like when they're working on music, but it can be pretty high tension," says Dieterich, from his new home in Albuquerque, "It's not like we're in a war zone or something, but at the time it can pretty nerve-wracking."
Despite the nerves and early unfounded fears about being filmed, Dieterich says the band ended up enjoying the experience. "It's good to do things like that, to force yourself to be transparent...to be able to operate under any circumstance." Deerhoof does have a track record of flexibility, whether it be taking risks with new tones or equipment, switching instruments during live shows, or reaching out beyond the traditional album-concert rock band format. The band created and performed an original score to Harry Smith's silent film Heaven and Earth Magic during the San Francisco International Film Festival a few years back, and its album Milk Man was turned into a piece of modern dance theater by schoolchildren who performed it in Maine.
The SFMOMA event will include Deerhoof's performance along with a screening of BAND. There also will be a projection of a different Pendelton project; footage of David Hilliard (former chief of staff of the Black Panther Party) touring landmark Black Panther Party sites in Oakland, and an onstage interview with Hilliard.
Deerhoof hasn't performed in conjunction with Pendelton's film since the premiere in New York City last year; Dieterich says he's looking forward to taking it to the museum. "We're going to be playing in this big entryway, I don't know acoustically what that room is like — just thinking from a sound perspective, it will have its own strong character."
Thurs/15, 6 p.m., free with admission
San Francisco Museum of Modern Artist
151 Third St., SF
BLACK COBRA, WALKEN, AND HIGHTOWER
Sept. 22, 6 p.m., free with admission
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 701 Mission, SF (415) 978-2787 www.ybca.org