Deer Tick @ Bowery Ballroom
When going to see a performance by a newish band with only one album under their belt, it’s easy to suppose you know what you’re getting into for the night. Shattering preconceptions, Providence’s Deer Tick played a lively set with covers, special guests, and antics galore to a sold-out Bowery Ballroom. John McCauley, the man responsible for the now full band’s first album, War Elephant, was jovial and energetic through blues/folk/rock songs both familiar and unknown to the audience. Lead guitarist Andrew Tobiassen, an official member only after the recording of the album, played with a deftness that was quite shocking for a boy of his age, as if he’d made a fabled pact with the devil for blues guitar chops. Impressive to say the least, his skill, along with the general enthusiasm of upright/electric bassist Christopher Dale Ryan and drummer Dennis Ryan, brought a Friday night-appropriate rockin’ quality to even the band’s softer numbers.
A few attendees in full weekend party mode brought an interesting flavor to the air as they pumped their fists wildly even during the less upbeat songs and screamed out lyrics as if Deer Tick were rock legends. Hootin’ and hollerin’ even through McCauley’s between song banter, they were definitely annoying but also highlighted the apparently wide appeal of the group’s sound. Numbers like “Spend The Night” and “Baltimore Blues No. 1” were particularly boot-stompin’, and the crowd sort of hushed down for the solo cover of Springsteen’s “Nebraska,” complete with harmonica. Childhood friend and writer of particularly catchy county love jam “These Old Shoes” Chris Paddock joined the boys on stage for that number and egged the crowd on with chants of “When I say Deer, you say Tick!” Showmanship aside, the members of Deer Tick played quite well and added a personal likeability to their down home sound. Frat boys and indie kids alike did not leave this evening disappointed.
- Review submitted by Liz Levine.