I've spent so much time in the past four years talking up Deer Tick's live show, I was prepared for a let-down Wednesday when I saw them for the first time in two years. I need not have worried. A surly sold-out rock crowd - more suited for Saturday night fighting or Friday night lights - greeted Rhode Island rockers Deer Tick at the Urban Lounge on Wednesday night.
The stuffed-like-your aunt's-Thanksgiving-turkey venue was the perfect setting for Deer Tick and lead singer John McCauley's blustery, cranked up old-school rock 'n' roll. The two-hour set was a welcome blast of pure rock and it's nice to see a band that's arguably in its prime so well-received. Regular readers of my reviews know that I often attend terrific and am mystified by frequent low turnouts. No such problem occurred Wednesday night as the Urban Lounge was filled with enthusiastic Deer Tick fans - some of whom actually quit talking and looking at their cell phones for parts of the set.
As is typical for a band touring behind a new record, they played most of the latest release, the surprise was that the material seemed already familiar to most of the crowd and there was no fall off in energy levels when Deer Tick played "Main Street," "Miss K" or "Something To Brag About" - all from "Divine Providence." They even encored - with help from openers Guards and The Trappers - with the album's spirited shout-along anthem, "Let's All Go To The Bar."
Songs from the band's terrific debut, "War Elephant," were warmly received including "Baltimore Blues," "Ashamed," and "Old Shoes." The fast-paced gig featured the band running through about 20 songs and almost no banter with the audience. The show was a blast and left me jonesing anew for the next Deer Tick concert here in SLC. At this point, I'm not sure there's any live concert I'd rather see than these guys. Yeah, they're that good.