Live Review: Deer Tick near perfect at Lee’s Palace, Nov 16 w/ Guards and Thomas Hardy

deerticktms3“I got a name, They call me The Bump.  A night with me, is gonna mess you up.”
By: Sarah Cramer
November 19, 2011
4.5/5

It’s pretty brave for any band to begin and end a show with tracks from a brand new album, but I cannot imagine more aptly chosen songs for Deer Tick’s Lee`s Palace gig last Wednesday the 16th. They opened with “The Bump” (which made good on the promise above) and they ended their set with raucous sing-along “Let’s all go to the Bar.” Sandwiched between was two hours of the most precious of things…real life, hell raising, live music!

One of the hardest working bands you’re likely to meet, Deer Tick tour constantly, and the level of comfort these guys have with each other is evident in their onstage antics and their sound. No matter how crazy the show gets (and it can get pretty crazy)  the band always deliver when it comes to the music.

A band with many influences, their diverse set reflected this. The set lasted about two hours and swung through grunge, alt country, hard rock, classic rock ‘n’ roll and some beautiful ballads. Their prolific output (four albums and an EP since 2008) gives them a huge catalogue to draw from. Perhaps one of the strongest indicators that this band is doing something right is the fact that the tracks from their recently-dropped album (Divine Providence off Dine Alone records) had as many people singing along as their classics.

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The crowd was also treated to some well chosen covers including Tom Waits and the Replacements, and as an extra treat the boys reprised their “Deervana” personas to deliver one or two uncannily convincing Nirvana greats. The show was just as compelling when the band stepped away to leave lead singer John McCauley alone onstage to croon some of their gentler number like “Diamond Rings.” McCauley’s voice is better now than it’s ever been, despite the punishment he seems to give it. During this show, as on this latest album, McCauley also stepped aside to let lead guitarist Ian O’Neill and drummer Dennis Ryan display their vocals and their writing chops.

Throughout the set the guys were clearly having fun. Even the two opening acts, Guards and Thomas Hardy (who were also great) joined in at various times. Lots of beer, references to ‘speedy drugs’ and playing guitars with…unusual appendages are just part of the reason Deer Tick shows regularly sell out. The Band`s mischievous charm (“We’re full-grown men, but we act like kids”) belie the serious stage skills they possess. This makes for an electric atmosphere of immediacy that you rarely find in live music. This is one of the few shows where you won’t see a lot of people with their phones aloft to record some shaky footage. They’re all too busy moshing and enjoying the music.

Click here to see more photos from Deer Tick’s performance at Lee’s Palace!

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