Deerhunter Surprise Show and Collaboration w/ Lonnie Holley
Last night was a classic case of bad news/good news. The bad news was that Wye Oak had to cancel their show with Lower Dens at The Earl in Atlanta. The good news was that Lower Dens were still playing… with Deerhunter filling the headliner spot. The surprises didn’t end there either.
Scribbled in chalk on the board outside the venue was an opening act called “Lonnie Holley featuring Ghetto Cross.” That turned out to be famed African American visual artist and educator Lonnie Holley accompanied by Bradford Cox (Deerhunter, Atlas Sound) and Cole Alexander (Black Lips). The trio’s set was a wonderful improv jam session consisting of three 15-20 minute-long songs. Cox moved between his guitar & pedals to the drums, Alexander pounded away on his bass, and Holley delivered steady stream-of-consciousness lyrics as he played the keyboard. It was Holley’s passionate, emotional delivery that made it work – no one could take their eyes off of him.
Before the last song, Holley introduced himself and explained all their music was “made up off the head… to see what the brain can do.” He mentioned that he was the seventh of 27 children birthed by his mother (yeah, wow) and that he had a piece of art entitled Obstacles Before The Goal at the High Museum of Art (see it here). Those two tidbits of information certainly got me interested in finding out more about this man, his story, and his art. Check out his background (and impressive resume) on Wikipedia and follow him on Facebook. Cox also pointed out that Holley will be releasing an album soon on Atlanta’s Dust-to-Digital record label.
Lower Dens followed with their set and then Cox returned to the stage for over an hour with the rest of his Deerhunter crew. We’ll have more photos and videos from Deerhunter and Lower Dens’ sets in the days to come.