Deer Tick + Robert Ellis @ Slim’s, SF 10/25/13
Robert Ellis is certainly no stranger to San Francisco, having recently played at the city’s annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, as well as an aftershow (also at Slim’s) with alt-country greats Calexico. Friday night’s packed house welcomed him back with open arms, as the Houstonian singer-songwriter charmed far and wide via his masterful lyricism and vocals that echoed the country greats of yesteryear.
After welcoming members of Deer Tick to join him onstage for a handful of tunes, Ellis announced he wanted to play a solo rendition of a song by one of his favorite songwriters – and every true-blue Deer Tick fan knew just from the opening notes that the song in question was “Daydreaming,” a song penned by DT’s John McCauley for his side project, Middle Brother. Naturally, McCauley emerged from backstage to lend his unmistakable, world-weary voice to the last two verses.
McCauley returned onstage 30 minutes later with his bandmates, dressed in a somewhat perplexing multi-colored suit and ready to blow out an eardrum or two. Deer Tick wasted no time getting to the nittiest and grittiest of their discography, tearing through “The Rock,” “Main Street,” “Trash,” “Thyme,” and speedy covers of the Beatles‘ “One After 909” and Hank Williams‘ “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” within the first half of their extensive 20+ song setlist.
As is expected at nearly any rock show, the band was sure to slow things down a bit toward the middle of their set, although we think things got a little too slow to keep the crowd’s rowdiness at bay for very long. The slight lull was compensated for toward the end, with “The Bump” and an encore performance of “Let’s All Go To The Bar.” Despite the glaring, neon sign onstage reading the name of the band’s latest album, Negativity, the atmosphere was anything but negative. The album itself is one that could easily be described as shameful, as could a lot of Deer Tick’s music – but it’s hard for us to find fault in a band that remains consistently great.
See more photos of Deer Tick blowing out eardrums HERE!