Deerpeople, with audience participation on maracas.
Credits: Stephen Carradini
Several times a set, the lead singer of Deerpeople will descend into the audience, contort his body so that his shoulder is aimed at the audience like a battering ram, then throw himself at people. It looks bizarre, because it is far more calculated that most moshing: it looks a lot like a drunken stagger, but it's done for a very particular result.
It's a perfect analogy for Deerpeople's music. Their music encompasses piano-pop, dance-rock, indie-rock and acoustic instruments (violin, accordion) into an ever-evolving mishmash that attacks the audience. The stops and starts of Deerpeople's songs are jarring, but intentionally so: the vocals are often harsh, but for effect. Deerpeople is in the business of making wholes out of things that are usually not whole. This conceptual framework is what the best bands do today: they don't just mash up genres, they make consistent things out of lots of pieces of other things. Deerpeople doesn't have a genre, and that's to the better for the listener. It's way more fun to listen to them, because there's a turn around every corner.
It also helped that the Buffalo Lounge was a hometown crowd, and Deerpeople are on the brink of major success. (The band has somewhere between 7 and 12 shows to play this SXSW, and that's an easy indicator that a lot of people are listening to what Deerpeople's doing.) This was a victory lap before the hard work of SXSW comes, and they enjoyed it for all it was worth. The band interacted with the fans, the fans sung along, the band smiled. It was a festive atmosphere, which only enhanced the jubilation of the tunes.
Deerpeople are onto something big with their ideas: you should check them out before they don't play around here that often anymore. They're from Stillwater, so I'm putting them in the Other Lives/Colourmusic category at the moment: Band Most Likely to Not Have to Play SXSW Next Year Due To Being Famous.