Tag Archives: Deer Tick


The Replacements – Forest Hills Stadium – September 19, 2014

September 22nd, 2014

The Replacements - Forest Hills Stadium - September 19, 2014

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com


Spend the Last Friday of Summer with the Replacements

September 17th, 2014

Bob Stinson (guitar), his brother Tommy Stinson (bass) and Chris Mars (drums) were already in a garage-punk outfit when Paul Westerberg (guitar and vocals) joined the band in 1979. The quartet changed their name to the Replacements since under the previous name, the Impediments, they’d been banned from some local Minneapolis clubs, thanks to rowdy behavior. Initially they were compared to another Twin Cities band, Hüsker Dü. But as the Replacements became increasingly known for their wild (drunken?) live performances— and as their sound drifted from punk to jangly alternative rock, including elements of pop and folk—they made a name for themselves, unquestionably emerging as one of the most influential, trailblazing bands of the ’80s, thanks in large part to their energetic live shows and the seven terrific albums they released between 1981 and 1990: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (stream it below), Hootenanny (stream it below), Let It Be (stream it below), Tim (stream it below), Pleased to Meet You (stream it below), Don’t Tell a Soul (stream it below) and All Shook Down (stream it below). But eventually things began to go off the rails. They were banned from Saturday Night Live in 1986, and Bob Stinson left the group later that year (and died in 1995). Mars departed in 1990, and then the Replacements closed up shop in the summer of 1991. And that’s where the story would have ended, except that seemingly out of nowhere, Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, joined by other musicians, played six shows last year. Buoyed by the response, they’ve teamed up with drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Dave Minehan to play several shows this year, including Coachella and Boston Calling. And on the heels of triumphantly playing their first hometown show in 23 years, which Billboard called “an absolutely stellar performance from start to finish,” they Replacements (above, performing “Alex Chilton” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) are coming to New York City to play Forest Hills Stadium on Friday night with a pair of like-minded, don’t-miss bands, the Hold Steady and Deer Tick. It’s the last Friday of summer, and this is one not to skip.


All-Star Lineup Celebrates New Dylan-Tribute Album on Monday

March 21st, 2014

Bob Dylan made a name for himself as perhaps the greatest singer-songwriter of all time during the ’60s and ’70s. But to put it mildly, many think his output in the ’80s, after he’d briefly become a born-again Christian, not only pales in comparison, but it was actually his worst work overall. However the fact of the matter is the iconic ’60s- and ’70s-era Dylan outshines just about any other artist’s work in any other decade. And the truth is his seven albums in the ’80s actually do contain numerous gems. And to that end, ATO Records release the tribute album Bob Dylan in the ’80s: Volume One next Tuesday, filled with bands like Deer Tick, Langhorne Slim, Built to Spill, Blitzen Trapper, Lucius and plenty other talented musicians. And on Monday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, a terrific gathering of musicians—including Langhorne Slim, John McCauley and Ian O’Neil of Deer Tick, Elvis Perkins, Spirit Family Reunion, Dawn Landes, Yellowbirds, Hannah Cohen, members of Tea Leaf Green, plus special guests—play a record-release party.




Robert Ellis Plays Against Type at Mercury Lounge

February 19th, 2014

Robert Ellis – Mercury Lounge – February 18, 2014

To look at them take the stage at Mercury Lounge last night, Robert Ellis and his band had all the markings of a good country music band. There was a pedal-steel player there; the tall, thin bass player was dressed all in black except for the white cowboy hat; and Ellis’s guitar strap was embroidered with his name in big blue letters. And, yes, they were pretty darn good playing country-flavored rock and roll, but time and again throughout the show, they played against type and transcended genre altogether.

They opened with “Westbound Train,” Ellis’s voice prominent in the mix before the entire band kicked in. From there, most of the set highlighted songs from Ellis’s new album, The Lights from the Chemical Plant. One thing that became clear is that the material is not very happy. “Good Intentions,” about infidelity, featured angry overlapping guitar solos, a short and snappy argument while the steel guitar sadly moaned. The mix of two guitars and a pedal steel seemed to offer an array of sounds and emotions from which to draw. “Pride” had a jazzy bridge with each guitar adding small, melodic pieces to the overall whole. Ellis proved himself to be proficient at both the singing and the songwriting, one of those rare talents blessed with a distinctive voice and the knack for penning songs to perfectly match it. This was apparent on tunes like “Steady as the Rising Sun” and later his solo take on “The Tour Song”—his vocals like sweet syrup to pour over a stack of pancakes.

Still, throughout the night, Ellis went out of his way to highlight his excellent band, particularly Kelly Doyle on Telecaster, who matched Ellis leading the band through several surprising musical twists. “Only Lies” bounced on a shuffle from drummer Dennis Ryan (from Deer Tick) while Ellis and Doyle showed off some deft guitar playing. The highlight of the night was probably “Houston,” which began as another emotional melody and then flipped into an up-tempo jam, guitars and steel expertly zigging and zagging. The end of the show finally strayed from the new album as the band loosened up even more with “Pitching,” an instrumental written by Doyle that was more jazz rock than anything you’d hear in Nashville, and two covers—a perfect take on Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” and a high-energy romp on Richard Thompson’s straight-country “Tear Stained Letter”—that displayed the band’s breadth and skill. The show concluded with what Ellis called a traditional bluegrass tune about growing up in the Bible Belt, “Sing Along.” I don’t know what kind of bluegrass Ellis is used to, but his version opened with several minutes of atypical noise jamming before careening into another genre-busting song. Yeah, I guess for Robert Ellis, that’s what passes for traditional. —A. Stein




Deer Tick – Webster Hall – November 7, 2013

November 8th, 2013

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Dawes Play Terminal 5 with Shovels & Rope Tomorrow Night

June 21st, 2013

Since forming in Southern California four years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and three albums—North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong and this year’s Stories Don’t End (stream it below)—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “If I Wanted Someone” at last year’s Lollapalooza) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty. Plus, at the most epic night of music The House List has ever had the privilege to witness, they inspired one of the loudest sing-alongs Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble had seen with their anthemic “When My Time Comes.” But, really, why are we telling you all this? So you don’t miss them with talented indie-folk duo Shovels & Rope tomorrow night at Terminal 5.


My Morning Jacket Blasts Off

December 28th, 2012

My Morning Jacket – the Capitol Theatre – December 27, 2012

Last night was a bring-your-own-seat-belt kind of affair as My Morning Jacket played a thrill-ride roller coaster, the first of three sold-out shows at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. Before the main event began, though, Deer Tick treated the crowd to an opening set that felt more like a second headliner. With their keyboardist “on a plane,” the Providence, R.I., band coalesced in quartet form, tight and rocking and totally polished. The set was an open-the-next-beer-before-finishing-the-last kind, constantly propelling through songs like “The Bump” and “Main Street” before exploding with a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” the audience singing along, and finally closing with “Born at Zero.”

With that, the stage was reset and MMJ came out loud, frenetic and intense from the get-go. The superlative light show at the Cap includes lifelike projections on the venue’s walls, which can suggest an alternate reality for those inside. The music dutifully provided an otherworldly soundtrack: When the walls showed a spooky, psychedelic, come-to-life forest, “Outta My System” delved deep into a dark guitar jam and later, the walls literally went to steam as the band chugged through “Steam Engine.” Throughout there were plenty of wonderfully disassociated moments—jams in stretched-out intros or outros or just standing alone as heady instrumental moments between songs. Jacket classics like “The Way That He Sings” and “Off the Record” were glued together with blistering ad hoc guitar riffs, ambient-noise jams and techno-tinged grooves.

The band has promised no repeats for this three-night run, providing some free-form fun in the set list, which was up and down while maintaining a glorious MMJ intensity all the while. Slower songs like the red-lit “Strangulation” seemed to build to heavy hitter at a perfect pace and eventually segued into a mallet-to-the-head “Smokin’ from Shootin’.” A late-set take on Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” was a highlight. Here, the walls seemed to go to oil slick, shimmering alive with liquid rainbow colors while the band slow-burned a long, groovy space jam to match.

The set peaked more than 100 minutes in with a monster feedback jam that fed into a loop-de-loop “Mahgeetah.” Still, plenty of track remained for Jim James and Co. as they came out and did a mini-set encore that encapsulated the energy of the show with another 40 minutes of music that included a quieter acoustic-guitar section highlighted by a solo version of “Bermuda Highway,” James ensconced in spotlight, his voice carrying the room. As the night came to a close, the walls went spacey, stars flying by at unnatural speeds as MMJ went into an intergalactic “Gideon.” The song built to yet another climax, entire galaxies floating by the audience. There were only a few questions to be answered: Were we returning to terra firma after a cosmic journey or had we finally left the atmosphere? And more important: Was your seat belt still buckled? —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com


The Sinclair Is Up and Running

December 21st, 2012

The Sinclair, a 525-person live-music venue in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., opened last week with Concrete Blonde. The gem of a room is filled with different levels and balconies, plus state-of-the-art lights and sound system. The Boston Globe says, “It has some of the best sight lines of any local venue, with three balconies of varying heights. Get here early to stake out a spot in the middle platform, which offers a prime spot to stare down the bands.” And the Phoenix calls that same perch: “the best view in a house that has no bad views.”

The Sinclair, however, isn’t just about great shows—although it will have a full calendar, highlighted by Deer Tick’s sold-out New Year’s Eve show. In addition to live music, this venue will house a Michael Schlow–helmed restaurant. “Music is inextricably linked to the dining experience,” says the acclaimed chef. And although the eatery will only have a small menu on show nights until after the New Year, once its fully up and running, concertgoers and foodies alike will want to stop in for anything from small bites and snacks to big plates and full meals. Because if you like food and music, this must be the place.


An Ass-Kicking Musical Revue

March 7th, 2011

Middle Brother/Dawes/Deer Tick – The Bowery Ballroom – March 6, 2011


Is March still part of the winter or is it spring? Should we be happy that it’s getting warmer or depressed because it was raining all day? Is Sunday night the end of the weekend or the beginning of the next week? Is Middle Brother a side project, a supergroup or just another band? These were some of the questions hanging in the air at The Bowery Ballroom on a rainy Sunday night in March. The answer to all of them is, of course, “somewhere in between,” which gives the band’s moniker some extra meaning.

Middle Brother, being bits of Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit, was only part of the story, though. Usually projects like these are meant to get the musicians away from their normal bands for some extracurricular activity. But the gig on Sunday was more of an extra kind of thing with the entirety of Dawes and Deer Tick playing their own full-strength sets as well. These weren’t opening slots, but part of an overall-show arc, with both bands playing in as-good-as-I’ve-seen-’em form. Despite having their bags stolen the night before, Dawes was as alive as ever with their superb polished-for-radio sound. Frontman Taylor Goldsmith extolled the beauty of support and collaboration with fellow musicians, setting the tone for the evening. He then brought out Johnny Corndawg for a mini-set of country-flavored fun. The closing number, “When My Time Comes,” had Corndawg and the Middle Brother cohorts singing along in unified awesomeness.

With their double blasts of guitar and a bottle of Maker’s Mark to pass around onstage, Deer Tick was a raging contrast of raw bar-band rock and roll. Their set included more guest turns and a massive jam with three guitars and eight total musicians as well as a fantastic five-part harmony on “Dirty Dishes.” By the time the quote-unquote headliner took the stage, the crowd had already gotten their money’s worth, but there was plenty more to come. In rock and roll mathematics, the sum of Goldsmith, Deer Tick’s John McCauley and Delta Sprit’s Matt Vasquez is roughly the average of proto-supergroups Crosby, Stills and Nash and Blind Faith: lush harmonies, touching, self-aware songwriting and plenty of build-to-climax raging rock. Rotating in guests from the rest of the night, they hit most of their self-titled debut in fine fashion. There was plenty of joking and back-slapping and free-for-all fun onstage and hooting, hollering and heckling in the crowd. As the clock approached midnight, the band handed out masks with ugly pictures of themselves for those in the audience to hold up—for no reason at all. Was it the weekend or the start of the week? Somewhere in between. —A. Stein


Five Questions with … John McCauley

March 2nd, 2011

A fantastic musical revue is coming our way this weekend. Middle Brother, comprised of the frontmen of three talented bands—John McCauley (Deer Tick), Matt Vasquez (Delta Spirit) and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes)—plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday and The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday. Each night will packed with great music, featuring sets by Middle Brother (above, doing “Me Me Me”), Deer Tick and Dawes. It’s sure to be a blast, but be aware that Saturday’s show is already sold out and Sunday’s show could, too. So act fast! In the meantime, McCauley was kind enough to answer Five Questions for The House List.

What’s the last band you paid to see live?
Oh man, I haven’t paid for a show in a long time…. Maybe Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons; one of my favorite bands. They’re out of Providence.

What’s the toughest part of playing New York City?
Not being able to smoke indoors.

Where do you like to hang out in NYC? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
I love Red Hook. I did live in New York for a bit, but it wasn’t for me.

What music or song always makes you dance?
“Jump Jive an’ Wail” by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Your after-party is at a bar with a great jukebox, and The House List gives you a buck. Which three songs are you playing?
AC/DC’s “T.N.T.,” the Beatles’ “Dig a Pony” and the Replacements’ “I Won’t.” —R. Zizmor


Deer Tick – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 10, 2010

November 11th, 2010

Deer Tick - Music Hall of Williamsburg - November 10, 2010

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com


In Case of Emergency: Add Brown Liquor

August 16th, 2010

Deer Tick – Webster Hall – August 13, 2010

Friday the Thirteenth proved to be a lucky night to be at Webster Hall. The crowd enthusiastically greeted Delta Spirit frontman Matt Vasquez (“I’m not anything without my band”) as he opened with a short set of his own songs plus covers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Neil Young. Then, playing their last U.S. show before heading overseas next month, Deer Tick was fittingly welcomed to the stage with an air horn. The Providence, R.I., quintet went right into “Choir of Angels,” the opening track from their terrific new album, The Black Dirt Sessions.

The disc is notable for a change in Deer Tick personnel, with guitarist Ian O’Neil, formerly of Titus Andronicus, and keyboardist Rob Crowell joining the band. O’Neil is a big addition with his songwriting (“Hope Is Big”), singing and frenetic guitar playing, clearly evident onstage during “Baltimore Blues No. 1,” which has been reworked with Christopher Ryan’s ’50s-coffehouse-bassline opening. Crowell’s influence was most obvious on an ambling version of “Ashamed,” as he effortlessly shifted from keys to sax mid-song (while ringleader John McCauley slid from crooner mode to keys player) as the crowd throatily sang the chorus.

Of course McCauley, his voice endearingly ragged on “Christ Jesus,” was his usual engaging presence, cracking jokes, singing to girls and sharing his bottle of Jack with the audience—plus he even played a little air horn when just he and drummer Dennis Ryan returned to the stage following the encore break. The other guys eventually joined them on an upbeat “Easy.” And then as people sprayed band-supplied Silly String into the air, it seemed like the show would close with the rambling honky-tonk of “Mange,” but the group responded to the loud crowd and returned with one more, a heartfelt a cappella “Dirty Dishes” before closing out their tour. Look out, Europe: Deer Tick is coming. —R. Zizmor


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Deer Tick on 8/13

August 10th, 2010


Friday the 13th is just three days away, but there’s no reason for it to be unlucky because The House List is giving away two tickets to see Deer Tick (with Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez opening) play Webster Hall that night. In concert, the band is like a live wire, and they’ve recently released a great new album, The Black Dirt Sessions. The show is sure to be a blast. Want to go? Then try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Deer Tick, 8/13) and a brief message explaining why your favorite Deer Tick song is just that. Eddie Bruiser, who can’t pick just one, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Dr. Dog and Deer Tick Close Their Tour Tomorrow Night at Terminal 5

May 14th, 2010

Dr. Dog, a pop-rock quintet based in Philadelphia, openly embraces lo-fi production and the upbeat, late-’60s sounds of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Two frontmen, bassist Toby Leaman and lead guitarist Scott McMicken, lead them—although the whole band harmonizes throughout their shows. The group formed in 1999 and has toured extensively over the years, earning wider acclaim opening for the Raconteurs, the Black Keys and My Morning Jacket. Although the lineup has changed over the years, Dr. Dog (above, playing “The Rabbit, the Bat and the Reindeer” on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson) still put out six albums since 2001. Their most recent effort, Shame Shame, came out last month. And they’ve been on the road with Deer Tick ever since. That tour ends tomorrow night at Terminal 5.

What began as a solo project for the ferociously talented John McCauley has blossomed into the five-man full-band sound of Deer Tick. Their third studio album, The Black Dirt Sessions, comes out next month but has already earned praise—plus their most notable fan is Brian Williams. And as terrific as the band’s recorded take on Americana music is, the best way to experience Deer Tick (below, playing “Easy” on KEXP) is to see them live. As singer-guitarist McCauley says, “Our live shows sometimes tend to go a bit haywire. We like to put on memorable shows, the kind of shows that you don’t see very often. If you don’t want to get covered in beer or confetti at one of our shows, I’d suggest not standing up in the front.” So do yourself a favor and make sure you go to Terminal 5 mañana.

MG and V: Supergroup, SXSW Style

March 18th, 2010

Sandwiched between a set by Dawes and one by Delta Spirit, three frontmen—John McCauley (Deer Tick), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Matt Vasquez (Delta Spirit)—plus Dawes drummer Griffin Goldsmith and Delta Spirit keyboardist Kelly Winrich played live for the very first time under the name MG and V. The vocalists wrote a bunch of material earlier in the year while holed up in Nashville, and they debuted four songs here at the IFC Crossroads House. McCauley, who played bass, sang “Daydreaming” with its fantastic opening line, “Listening to the neighbors having sex.” Vasquez took the next tune. No one said the name of the upbeat song, but it might’ve been called “Some Day.” Taylor sang lead next on “Thanks for Nothing.” And then all three singers traded verses on “Million Dollar Bill.” Good shit. Delta Spirit up next. Stream it here! —R. Zizmor