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Deerhoof is my favorite live band. In seven years of living in the Twin Cities, they've come through at least once for each album since Offend Maggie, and they proudly play at least one track off each of those records whenever I get the chance to see them. There's not one nuance from any of these collected memories that wasn't taken from the album, blown out to maximal volume, and had its metronome switched out for flashing emergency lights. Most attribute this last part to the wild flailing of Greg Saunier on drums. But, in more recent shows, guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez are more than just catalysts for the lack of reason behind the tempo. They jump all over the beat on the otherwise mathematical melodies of 'Twin Killers', nearly putting to shame the excellent studio version of the Runners Four cut. Deerhoof amazingly manage to stay in one another's rhythmic pocket despite all this, so much so that Satomi Matsuzaki is able to conduct the mess with pointing hands and hopping feet on 'Come See The Duck'.

The lack of an official live album until this point is no surprise. There's too much going on onstage. As a diehard fan, I've brought unfamiliar people to each of the Minneapolis shows. Encouraging them to finish malt liquor before and getting praise as "that was the best show I've ever seen" afterward, the cult of Deerhoof lives as one that depends little on how much you know of their 20-year discography. They've been able to stay just below the radar in this regard, even acting as opener for of Montreal on the US leg of the La Isla Bonita tour. The secret's out in the independent music community, but not anywhere else. Many bands operate under this exact premise, but few have as powerful a fan-vacuum for every show.

Fever 121614 doesn't disappoint despite the shadow of what it has to live up to. It exactly fills the role its title suggests. The pulse is everywhere from the lithe guitar parts on 'Paradise Girls' to the absurd four-three-two-one time signature on the intro of 'Fresh Born'. The guitars communicate with Saunier's sporadic playing and cast off the four/four rhythm the band is usually in. Like Coltrane shedding the shackles of chord changes on Ascension, Deerhoof shed that of pop music while staying within its reach. There are verses, choruses, bridges and solos, but they take an easy backseat to the sheer energy and thrift to which they are bulldozed over (see the cover for Breakup Song).

'Twin Killers' is as great as it was when the band were a three piece. It's clear that they've had the most practice with this one as the guitars join Matsuzaki's voice in a round that manages to land back on the distorted crunch of the song's main chord. There's also an air of having mastered 'Dummy Discards a Heart', which is now over twelve years old. The Tokyo crowd knows what's coming, and supplies one of the few discernable whoops of approval Fever offers under Deerhoof's cranked volume. It's a song that's a beautiful absolute mess on record, supplying lyrics that are harder to make out than usual. Live, 'Dummy' has Saunier jumping in on beat two and Rodriguez and Deiterich glossing over whole measures with swampy chords, all while balancing every piece of the well-equalized mix. Though whole, the EQ is also abstract with Saunier's kick drum being slightly higher in tone than Matsuzaki's bass, every click sounding like the basketball sound that defines another live staple left off this particular collection.

Fever 121614 will definitely encourage those who manage to hear the limited release to see the show. Deerhoof have too much fun on tour to consider breaking up soon, after all. They are undeniably one of the most dependable bands operating in the live scene, having even directly responded to a tweet from me asking about an upcoming Minneapolis date back on the Breakup Song tour. Things may have to dismantle a bit after Fever's stunning mastery of the current setlist, but fans will always have it to look back on the energetic high point of the band's time with its current lineup.

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