It’s not usual for the frontman of a band to stop in the middle of the show to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on guitar, mutter “I am a good guitar player” and then lament about his fingers peeling off. But to any fans of Deerhunter, this is quite tame behavior for Bradford Cox. Called “one of the most unpredictable and loose-lipped frontmen in all of indie rock” by Pitchfork, Cox knows how to put on a good show.

Deerhunter performed yesterday at the Royale in Boston, arriving on stage at 10pm, just a modest three hours after the doors opened to the show. The Royale, a relatively small-sized venue with classy lighting and decor, is familiar with bands that love to experiment.

Around 8pm, Mas Ysa, the stage name for Canadian musician Thomas Arsenault, dragged his feet on stage and mumbled vague introductions to the audience. He abruptly started his first song by mixing many prerecorded loops and then revealed a beautiful, passionate, yet almost fearful voice.

After a brief intermission, Marnie Stern came in with her almost fairy-like voice and speedy guitar playing. She playfully engaged the audience, sometimes going on rants and experimenting near the end with some humorous vocal distortions. She finally got people to move around; it was her last show with Deerhunter and she wanted to leave with a blast.

But the crowd really came alive when Deerhunter took over the stage at 10pm. “I feel like I’m going to cry!” Cox yelled just before the band’s second song. “Cheer me up,” the thin, lanky man cried just after the song. He even engaged members of the crew: “Get me into it, lighting guy!” he commanded, after making eye contact with him. Ironically, when asked by the crowd to play perhaps his most popular song (which the crowd went wild for), he quickly became solemn and said, “Fine, I guess we’ll play Helicopter.”

Unfortunately, all the other members of Deerhunter remained as they always do at his shows: stone-faced. They weren’t introduced a single time. I couldn’t even make out the face beneath the drummer’s long, curly brown hair until he stood up at the end of the show.

At the end of the show, there was no stage-diving, no wild cries, no lengthy speech about loving Boston. Cox merely said “Thank you,” and abruptly walked off stage, in classic, subversive Deerhunter fashion.

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