Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit at Webster Hall, NYC [Concert Review]

by Woody on August 17, 2010

Its been almost three years since I first saw Deer Tick perform at a Brooklyn apartment. Since then, the band has become one of the most prolific outfits, releasing two albums, an EP, and touring consistently. On Friday night, John McCauley brought his latest lineup of the band to Webster Hall for the final date of their month-long North American tour.

The night began early with a solo set from Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit. Although admittedly unaccustomed to being on stage alone, Vasquez delivered a strong set that included Delta Spirit songs, Bushwick Blues, and St Francis, and covers of Paul Simon, and Neil Youngs “Tell Me Why.” Vasquez was joined onstage by McCauley for a new song and a future collaboration between the two was alluded to on multiple occasions with Vasquez advising the crowd at one point that “if youre on the wagon, dont come to the show”.

Once Deer Tick took the stage, McCauley seemed intent on reminding the crowd that he is indeed off the wagon. Throughout their powerhouse set, McCauley alternated between bottles of beer, which he opened with his teeth, and whiskey. Its these antics, combined with Deer Ticks visceral sound that conjure thoughts of a roadhouse where the band plays behind a cage and the crowd is more interested in fighting among themselves, or perhaps the band, than listening to music.

Thankfully, the crowd at Webster Hall didnt appear to be looking for a fight, and was for the most part rather enraptured by Deer Tick as they poured through songs from each of their three albums. Highlights included White Lies, Spend The Night, Christ Jesus, Smith Hill, and Choir of Angels. Each song demonstrated McCauleys impressive command of the music and of the stage that make Deer Tick one of the best live bands around today. However, the most defining moment came during a slow tempo and sensual version of Ashamed, in which McCauley sauntered around the stage like a female lounge singer from a bygone era. The show concluded after all the bottles of silly string (supplied by the band) had been exhausted, and the drum kit kicked over, with a beautiful a capella version of Dirty Dishes.

As I was leaving the concert, I suggested to a friend that Deer Tick is a throw back to a different sound and era. She asked what sound I was referring to, and after some deliberation the closest I could come up with was Chuck Berry or Ronnie Hawkins. The comparison isnt perfect, but the one thing that is for sure, is long gone are the days of seeing Deer Tick in a loft for a $3 donation.

Fan Video: Deer Tick – Ashamed

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

zookeeper August 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

a brawl did break out when deer tick played in toronto. subsequently they were invited to play during intermission for the toronto maple leafs.

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