Austin, Texas five-piece The Deer will be performing Portishead's 1994 triphop classic Dummy in its entirety at the Sunset Tavern on Wednesday, February 28. A masterpiece of sampling and live instrumentation conceived by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley, Dummy has become one of the pillars of emotive electronic music, a richly orchestral and funky record that can withstand hundreds of plays in coffee shops and hip bistros without wearing out its welcome. (Okay, dozens.)
Covering this LP seems challenging, not least because few vocalists can match Gibbons's intense intimacy and existential pathos. The heaviest burden of pulling off this achievement rests on singer Grace Rowland Park. You can judge for yourself whether The Deer are up to the task in the video for their cover of "Numb" below. I think they handle the material very well, with Noah Jeffries's violin dropping haunting, melancholy shading, guitarist Michael McLeod conjuring warped whorls, and Park conveying Gibbons-esque gravitas without straining. It should be interesting to find out how they render the other 10 tracks on Dummy.
And here's an original tune by The Deer.