Getting club promoters to bite on a relatively unknown band isn’t always easy. But in the case of Atlas Sound, the solo project of Deerhunter vocalist Bradford Cox, some talent buyers quickly snagged a show from the act’s current North American trek, based on Deerhunter’s past reputation for drawing healthy-sized concert crowds.
Cox is touring behind his experimental electronic-driven solo debut, “Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel,” which dropped Feb. 19 via Kranky. When routing the jaunt, which visits 200- to 400-capacity venues, the Windish Agency’s Sam Hunt, who also books Deerhunter, stuck with clubs that “understood what Deerhunter were doing” and had “booked them before.”
Although Deerhunter didn’t do a proper U.S. headlining tour in support of 2007’s eerie-sounding “Cryptograms,” which has moved 14,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the Atlanta-based noise rock outfit impressed promoters who witnessed sellout audiences during club and festival dates.
One such believer is Los Angeles-based talent buyer Liz Garo, who booked Atlas Sound into the Echo on March 11 primarily because of “the popularity of Deerhunter.” Scott McLean, co-owner/talent buyer of Portland, Ore.’s 400-capacity Holocene, says the word-of-mouth and Internet blog chatter that surrounded “Cryptograms” will definitely help bring concertgoers to the Atlas Sound concert at his venue on March 7.
“If you’re thinking about selling tickets, then you’re definitely banking on there being some sort of connection with something that’s proven already,” says McLean, noting that tickets for the concert will cost about $8. “I have really good confidence in the show.”
The majority of venues on the Atlas Sound tour cater to the 21-and-over drinking crowd. “In retrospect, now that it’s up and running, I wish we had done more all-ages show,” Hunt explains. “It seems like there’s been a lot of response from people who are under 21.” To counter that, Kranky in-house publicist Brian Foote, who is also a touring member of Atlas Sound, says the band hopes to do “more than a normal amount” of in-store appearances. “[Bradford] has a large younger fanbase,” Foote observes.
While Cox is the sole performer on “Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel,” which offers a softer, less distorted approach than Deerhunter’s experimental punk sound, the artist recruited several Kranky labelmates to comprise his backing band on the road, including Foote (sampler, synth and backing Vox), Adam Forkner of White Rainbow (guitar), Honey Owens of Valet (bass), and Stephanie Macksey (drums). White Rainbow and Valet are the opening acts on each date.
“Bradford was eager to turn this into a family affair,” Foote says. “It’s the first Kranky label tour since, like, Godspeed You Black Emporer! and Labradford.”
Atlas Sound will wrap its current tour with a handful of concerts at this year’s South by Southwest, according the Hunt, who says U.S. festival appearances also in the works. Beyond March, the act will perform throughout Europe, Brazil and possibly Australia at to-be-determined dates.