As I was just a budding young lad at the age of 16, I dreamt of the day I would be old enough to go see a 21 and over concert every day of the week. It was to be magical. I would drink, stay out late, see all of my favorite bands and not have a single care in the world. Let me remind you of my impeccable taste in music at the time, i.e. Papa Roach, Disturbed. Okay, okay, I was in a “transition period,” and to be honest I listened to a lot of really great music as well. But I digress. Fast Forward 11 years later, Bearded Gentlemen co-creator Jon and I decided that over the Spring we would go to as many concerts as we could and write something about them to create as much content as possible. I absolutely love concerts and it has been fun so far. However, as could be imagined, it can be a little rough getting up early for work after a late night bar show.
I am a huge Deer Tick fan, and have been enamored with their sound since my first listen to the band’s third record The Black Dirt Sessions. It was easily in my top 3 favorite albums of 2010 and my enthusiasm was only fueled by the concert I attended in support of that particular record. I must admit, I had not been the biggest fan of the band’s latest LP Divine Providence. With the exception of just a couple of tracks, I really didn’t feel that it captured the same creative energy as the previous release. Instead, I felt that they had focused that energy into a more “party” based sound that detracted from their outstanding musical capabilities.
When the night of the concert rolled around, Jon and I had to convince ourselves to get out and go. It felt every bit like a mid-week show and the Deer Tick concert I had seen previously didn’t let out til’ damn near 2 o’clock in the morning. We stumbled in grumpy, unprepared and unexcited.
I hadn’t looked into the opening band, Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside, but they actually happened to catch me off guard and helped cheer me up substantially. Things were starting to look up! Sallie Ford and her band The Sound Outside hail from Portland, OR and have been receiving critical acclaim from major publications. The band has a very 1950′s high energy Rockabilly sound and Miss Sallie Ford has a wonderful voice that suits the music perfectly. Her stage presence was both dainty and tough and kept the crowd entertained through the whole set. However, I have to say that I kept focusing all my attention to The Sound Outside’s guitar player Jeff Munger, homeboy can get down with that guitar. If these guys are playing a show near you, be sure to check them out.
When Deer Tick took the stage I was in a lot better mood thanks to the awesome opener, a couple of beers and a shot of whiskey. The band themselves came out ready to party in full force as each member had numerous beer bottles, and a large cup of what I will assume was whiskey lined up and ready to go on stage with them. Deer Tick is an amazing live band, there is no doubt about it. However, again, at the time of the show I was just not really into a lot of the new album Divine Providence, which is what they happened to play the most of. While songs such as “The Bump,” “Let’s All Go To The Bar,” and “Funny Word” were all executed flawlessly, I didn’t personally connect with them or the band during their perfomrance. There were however, a number of songs that blew me off my feet, the toned down version of “Ashamed” from the band’s first album War Elephant was outstanding. Singer John McCauley really played off the crowd and made sure to thrust the mic out into them so they could chant through the chorus. (Be sure to check out the video I captured where some drunk asshole wanders on stage and McCauley pours a beer on him before he is escorted off.) The most memorable performance of the night for me would be when guitarist, Ian O’Neil took over lead vocals for my favorite track from the new LP, “It’s Your Turn.” It is simply a beautiful, well structured song that is filled with heart-ache and O’Neil owned it. (I regretfully, did not capture this on video, but I encourage you to look up a live version of this song.) Deer tick played through most of Divine Providence with songs from the other albums scattered through, including one of the band’s early singles, “Batimore Blues No. 1″. They even played a cover of Beastie Boy’s “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” in honor of MCA.
The show once again ended somewhere near 2 in the morning and I had been ready to head home for more than a half hour or so. Don’t get me wrong, I was again very impressed with the band. I only wish that this show had been on a Saturday night. I don’t mean to sound so old, but not having to work, and being able to fully engage in the band’s party mode energy would have changed my whole attitude towards the show.
I was beyond ecstatic when I learned that the band was selling their Deer Tick political yard signs at the merch booth and made sure to pick one up on my way out.
Also, a couple quick notes to end on. I have since listened and found a new appreciation for Divine Providence especially after watching through the videos I recorded. It is an amazing album, I just needed to see the songs played live to understand the potential behind it. You can watch all my videos here at my YouTube channel.
Here are a few more from the show!