Just a little after the twelfth hour, The Deer Tracks arrived in Portland on Thursday, November 14, 2013. The Swedes had been driving all night since their show in San Francisco - a journey at its fastest you can do in nine hours. Fueled by gas-stop snacks, David Lehnberg & Elin Lindfors, accompanied by tour manager/keyboardist Anna-Karin Berglund had just few hours for repose before their loading time of 4:30 pm at Mississippi Studios.
Arriving at the North Portland venue little after door time of 8 pm, I spotted one half of the sweeping electronica duo sitting behind the merch table. With no signs of sleep-deprivation, Elin greets with a radiant smile, stopping for a moment from making necklaces out of her broken glockenspiel. The keys netted by a piece of yarn became an original creation for sale. The fairy-like musician also baked crisp bread (a staple in Swedish diet), as part of the various The Deer Tracks' merchandise. Some people have all the talent, let alone the looks.
Upstairs in the green room, David and Anna-Karin tried to squeeze in as much rest before their set at 11 pm. This was The Deer Tracks’ second stop at Mississippi Studios this year, and the only venue they’ve played in Portland since their first North American tour in June 2012. So they probably felt at home and comforted with the venue’s sound system by now.
Though the proverbial Stumptown rain restrained itself and with a measly $5 cover, the house could have used a few more warm bodies. Those who came probably knew this was like the “deal of the century show”. Having completed their epic undertaking, complete with a prologue and an epilogue, the self-dubbed “northern light electronica” act has been spending much of the year promoting the third installment of the The Archer Trilogy. The forty-plus-minute set, comprised of eight songs may sound short as a headliner on paper, but the expansive sound that emanated from the trio on stage never felt laconic.
As one of the most photogenic bands around, from fantasy faux-eyelashes to refracting string lights adorning the equipments, The Deer Tracks’ attention to the visual is as much involved as their audio counterpart. Kicking the set off with “Divine Light”, one of six tracks from Pt. 3, spectral vibrations from Berglund’s keyboard and Lindfors’ saw breezed through the atmosphere. With one less tour mate this time around, Lehnberg armed the drum kit instead of the keys, along with providing vocals. Singles, “W” amd “Lazarus” followed as the long-haired songstress impressed the crowd with her vocal range that oscillated from frailty to powerfulness. At the end of “The Ghost Hour”, an audience member shouted, “Are You Kidding Me?”, in disbelief. And that reaction of dazzlement seems to be the consensus of the first-timers. The performance concluded with the single with countless mixes, “Tiger” from The Archer Trilogy: Pt. 2. The musicians from the small town of Gävle enchanted us with the audio-visual experience with the magic that could be believed from their Nordic forest.
The next day, the Swedes had a day off before embarking on a relatively short trip to Seattle (2.5-3 hour drive). With a mid-day photo shoot, the slumberous musicians had to catch up on their sleep on another day. On the way back from their appointment, David took advantage of the unbeatable deals at the Revival Drum Shop. Between the exchange rate and no state sales tax, Lehnberg acquired items that would easily be double the price back home.
The rain was steady and the sun was waning in the late afternoon. While David and Anna-Karin needed some rest, for Elin, there was always too much to see/do. The original mission was to go vintage-clothes shopping, but the major transaction took place at Trade Up Music on Alberta. Lindfors found an aged snare drum, complete with holes, for future stage arrangement.
After some espresso shots and a Red Bull, the trio drove north in the calm drizzle of the Friday evening. The Deer Tracks will finally be able to sleep in on Saturday, in the emerald city.
Nov 19 Neurolux Lounge Boise, ID
Nov 20 Bar Deluxe Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 22 Vaudeville Mews Des Moines, IA
Nov 23 Aquarium Fargo, ND
Nov 26 7th Ave Entry Minneapolis, MN
Nov 27 New Dodge Detroit, MI
Nov 28 Silver Dollar Room Toronto, CAN
Dec 01 Bug Jar Rochester, NY
Dec 04 Garfield Artworks Pittsburgh, PA
Dec 05 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA
Dec 06 Johnny D's Somerville, MA
Dec 07 Glasslands Brooklyn, NY
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