Deerhoof Lee's Palace, Toronto ON - May 18, 2005

Maybe it was the homemade, light-sensitive metallic disks backing the band with firework splashes of colour at the loud parts or just the larger crowd and the five-foot stage, but Deerhoof were absolutely massive. With sensitive, perfected proficiency, they ran through a whirlwind collage of songs from their latest full-length, Milk Man, that bled into other songs and strategically avoided a stop-start feel. Last year's Toronto date for the band was simply unbelievable; the group played a breathless, charged set that proved their talent and felt exactly right in the small venue. This time around, Deerhoof were even greater experts and it's this technical faultlessness that allowed them to take, and hold, command over the too-big club. Deerhoof are masters of soft versus hard and the wide open space was a great place to show this off. Though the "too many fans" plague seems to have hit the band (as evidenced by the number of over-zealous or over-intoxicated screamers in the crowd, whose tendency to yell during these crucial quiet moments caused singer/guitarist Satomi Matsuzaki to shush them), Deerhoof handled even this with capable hands, pulling the audience in with soft "coos" before pushing their instruments into booming stadium-sized rock moments. The lead-off track from the new EP, Green Cosmos, "Come See the Duck" made for a perfect exit but wasn't quite the end because the group returned to sing an uncharacteristically down-to-earth and normal rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" for one band member's special day.