One of my favorite bands in the modern music scene is a group called Deerhunter from Georgia. Their psychotropic, melancholy, eerily-beautiful sound never ceases to inspire me, no matter how many times I listen through their material. When their first album Cryptograms dropped back in 2006 I was instantly a fan. I made it over to their tiny show at Bottom of the Hill in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, stood alongside a few dozen other admirers, paid about $10 for my entrance fee, and quietly sipped my beer while watching the show from about ten feet away. It was utterly fantastic.
When Microcastle was released in 2008, I was completely overwhelmed by how that album spoke to me. It's like the music was written directly for my inner soul and my deepest fears and anxieties. I'd never felt so terrified, yet so illuminated while listening to rock music. When they announced their San Francisco date for the tour it was for a larger venue than before: The Great American Music Hall in the Tenderloin. Tickets were $25 this time around and the crowd was much larger. Both shows sold out quickly and I needed to make sure I was at my computer at 10 AM the day tickets went on sale. There were about five hundred people at this show and it wasn't as easy to see from where I was standing. Nevertheless, I still had a blast and left the show totally invigorated.
Two years would go by before Deerhunter released their third album: Halcyon Digest - a brilliant mix of atmospheric mood with pop sentimentality. Their American tour would once again bring them to the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Tickets were still around the same price ($30), but the word had since spread about the band though the music world: these shows were not to be missed. I decided to pass this time around because the show I wanted to attend sold out quickly and I didn't feel like fighting the crowd. My previous experiences would be enough to sustain my current admiration for their newer material.
Since 2010, Deerhunter have been all over the world. They're currently planning a European tour with plenty of festival appearances in support of their soon-to-be-released album Monomania. I'll definitely be picking up a copy of the record when it's released, but I'm probably not going to make it to their next Bay Area show. Deerhunter has been on Conan O'Brien now and Jimmy Kimmel Live. They're becoming superstars in the independent music scene and rightly so - they're an incredibly talented, exciting, and interesting rock band. However, I know that the next stop for Deerhunter will be the Fox Theater in Oakland or the Fillmore in San Francisco. They've gathered enough of a following now to carry that kind of demand. Tickets will probably be about $40 or so and I'm sure they'll put on a great show.
At that show there will be tons of new fans. Fans who maybe just discovered them recently. Fans who will be thrilled to see Deerhunter play for the first time. They'll pack the floor, push their way to the front, and struggle to get as close as possible, the way most general admission shows work. Since I've already seen them twice, however, and I was lucky enough to see them when they were still starting out, I'm not sure that any new experiences with Deerhunter will ever be able to outdo my previous ones.
How did Deerhunter, a small, oddball band from Georgia, become a big player in the music scene? First off, they were good and their sound refreshing. More importantly, however, was the fact that they quickly became internet darlings. All the music blogs and indie sights like Pitchfork would gush about their music on a weekly basis. In today's new age of instant information, the word spread quickly. No one needed to pick up a magazine or hear about Deerhunter at a friend's party because the information was being spread by amateur music bloggers faster than any word of mouth could ever achieve.
That's the thing about the internet these days. When people like something, they write about it. They take pictures of it. They tweet it, Facebook it, Instagram it, and text message it. When a small army of enthusiasts begins spreading the word about something new, exciting, good, and fun, it's human nature for the rest of the world to want to share in with that experience. When the demand for Deerhunter's music went up, the ticket prices went up with it. The competition for those tickets made the availability more scarce.
One thing that hasn't changed with success, however, is the quality of Deerhunter's music. I'm hoping that their upcoming release will continue to challenge me and inspire me as the previous albums have done. However, there will probably come a time when I simply go back and listen to the ones I already have. Unlike whiskey, music can last forever no matter how many times I listen to it.
Personally, I'm excited for Deerhunter and their success because they've earned it. I've got no problem with their new-found popularity. If I had wanted to keep their music and performances to myself, I probably shouldn't have written a blog post about how amazing they are. I probably shouldn't have written internet reviews about how awesome their albums are. I probably shouldn't have taken Facebook photos of myself at their concert. It's funny how that happens. People spend all their time filling the internet with information about how wonderful something is and then get upset when the world takes notice.
For some people sharing their enthusiasm is a wonderful thing - until other people start actually sharing that enthusiasm.