The Mysterious Life of Bradford Cox

Cox in 2007 (Atlas Sound, Deerhunter the band)

The audience at the Showbox was cold and self-conscious last night: they held their digital cameras up, but that’s about all the movement the band saw from us, from the stage. He said, “I wish we could have been more together tonight. I can’t even tell if there’s anyone out there…you’re just cameras in a dark room.”

They are in their late 20s, and just as self-conscious as the rest of us. Cox has a rare genetic disorder that has left him unusually thin and spindly. They push limits with their music; several times the room swirled into a bracing cloud of feedback loops and discord. They put the cloud up there and then played other rhythms below it. I had wads of tissue in my ears, and looked around to see how the others were coping: several guys had dragged their girlfriends there, hooked by the promise of girl-friendly ballads they had warmed up to in their apartments but live, got deconstructed and trashed, in a Krautrock kind of way. I saw more than one guy cradling his girl in his arms (“there, there…everything’s going to be fine”), but it wasn’t.

They came out for an encore even though the audience didn’t deserve it. He opened with a Scott Walker cover, and there may have been only five people there who recognized the name Scott Walker. This is one of the only artists my wife has asked me to remove from my iPod.

I felt bad for Bradford Cox and even tried to contact him today through the Internet, to apologize on behalf of Seattle. He stopped part-way into the last song to address someone off-stage who was making a noise that bothered him, and when they tried to resume the song, the moment was gone.

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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