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All (stunning) photos: Josh Sisk.com
All (longish) words: Svetlana

This past Friday at Sonar could only be described as a mini-festival of awesomeness in one tightly packed night. The Mainstage hosted Dan Deacon, Deerhunter and NO Age in a Round Robin tour stop, Talking Head club had a bunch of BYT favorites like Future Islands and The Art Department play some good, weird rock music, and the club stage saw Dave Nada return to guest DJing TaxLo after something like-a year maybe?
We also didn’t have Summer Camp on Saturday and for once I didn’t have to wake up at 8am on a weekend so, naturally, I was on the first train out of Dodge City and into Baltimore on Friday afternoon.
No regrets.

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Now, to fully appreciate what went down on the Main Stage, you have to first consider the bands playing (hey, I know most of you know all of this, but bear with me):

Deerhunter (on Kranky Records) – is the other band of Atlas Sound’s Bradford Cox, a man whose appearance is often discussed almost more than his very unique, very tasteful music talent. If I was to use 2 words and a hyphen to describe them I’d say “ambient post-punk”. If you love it-you really love it. If you don’t get it-you hate it. Live-it comes off like a fire held within and not being let out and almost delicate. There is 4 of them.

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NO AGE (on SubPop) is a 2 person LA good time band. It is noisy, it is fast, it is loud, and on Friday described as “almost Dead Kennedyish”. If I think of what an LA skate band SHOULD sound like-I think of NO AGE. Live-it is exactly what you’d think a 2 person punk band would be like-plaid shirts and a ton of good old fashioned guitar shreds and drum destructions set to oddly catchy interludes.

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Dan Deacon (on CarPark) is a 1 person phenomenon of nerd dance. That’s all. The effect the man, and his glowing skull have on the dancing youth is nothing short of inexplicable and the only way to truly understand what goes on live is to actually be there.

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NOW-all three of the bands are doing well for themselves, blogs love them, kids love them, I could see them each headlining. BUT-NO.
How this worked was that all of them were IN THE ROOM AT THE SAME TIME, arranged in an imaginary triangle enveloping the audience (each band has decidedly different set up- from a formal Deerhunter lineup to an “as informal as it gets” Dan business) and they just played a sound each in a round-about-the-room (and the robin) format.

DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON-DEERHUNTER-NO AGE-DAN DEACON

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Just like that.
No openers, no closers, no warning between (major) genre switching-no nothing. Just good songs all around. I was a little skeptical (I am just like that by nature-and now increasingly so in my approaching of old age) but by the end of the first round-about I was totally appreciating it (no boredom, no-oh I know what’s left of this set, let me go and get a drink next door, no nothing like that) and THE KIDS IN THE AUDIENCE WERE LOVING IT.
Rage to Dan.
Downtime to Deerhunter.
Work yourself up to NO AGE.
Rage to Dan.

All the requisite crowd surfing (with high-fives included), sweating and scream-alongs were there, just as you hope they’d be. This would not work EVERYWHERE, but on Friday it definitely worked. And it made, what would be 3 solid performances completely special, for that night and that night alone.

After that-we went and D.A.N.C.E.D to Dave Nada and had one too many stoli sodas. The rest – is a blur. As it should be.

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See Josh’s full set here

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