Considering how much I love seeing bands in their hometown and how long I've been going to see Deer Tick, it's odd that I've never made it down to RI to see Deer Tick (festivals excluded.) Last Saturday, I headed down to Pawtucket to see night two of Deer Tick's three night two venue stand.
Breaking from this tour's format of An Evening with Deer Tick and playing two sets, one acoustic and one electric, this was an all electric evening. Deer Tick played in front of a thrilled hometown audience, and the energy between the performers and audience built all night. This was definitely a crowd that has been following the band for a while, and older songs like "Ashamed" and "Christ Jesus" garnered the biggest reaction. As the band continues to go on, frontman John McCauley relinquishes that role more and more, with guitarist Ian O'Neil and drummer Dennis Ryan taking over lead vocals for more of the sets. O'Neil did a fantastic, energetic cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" mid set that really upped the enthusiasm of everyone involved. The band closed out the night with another cover: The McCauley sung "You Are So Beautiful," originally done by Joe Cocker.
Once again, "Let's All Go to the Bar" brought out the biggest reaction of the show, including a little baby mosh pit. I guess hearing the word "bar" in a song is exciting when you've just started going to bars legally? The only reference I have to this kind of overly enthusiastic reaction to an ok song is back in the 90's when giant mosh pits would break out at Fun Lovin' Criminals shows. Not to the giant megahit of "Scooby Snacks," but the much mellower pot anthem "Smoke 'Em." The ability of Deer Tick to appeal to hipster music snobs and the bar song moshing crowd is just one indicator of how great they've truly become. For a band that has gone from local dive bars to the kind of band that wears in ear monitors, they have retained what has always made them a unique group.
I was a bit disappointed to find out Deer Tick was breaking tour format with these hometown shows and having bands open up and not comedians. Luckily, RI's Nova One was a delight. All four members took the stage in matching wigs and all black outfits (large t-shirt wore sorta as a dress, black leggings) and played this ultra lo-fi version of 60's girl group music. The highlight of their set was an excruciatingly slow and reimagined version of Nirvana's "Come As You Are." Expect to hear more of them on this site in the hopefully near future.