The last time Deer Tick came to Albany they played loud and hard at The Hollow, so it was a nice change of pace to watch the band lay down a beautiful acoustic set at The Egg to a sold-out rabid crowd. The band ran through new material, old material, and for the first time all tour played a request from the audience. The audience member was a little girl younger than 10 and she was happier than anyone else in the room once the band went into “Real Old Shoes.”
Mutual Benefit opened the evening, and though they didn’t play acoustic, their songs are what dreams are sound-tracked by. Front man Jordan Lee’s quiet voice spins stories over the gorgeous soft musical landscape that the rest of the band plays behind him. The mix of folk, psychedelia, and rock are perfectly melded together to transport you into the ether. Between songs Lee told funny anecdotes to the crowd which became funnier due to what everyone perceived as nervousness, but I think it was part of the charm that the band has. Their whole sound and persona seemed to be to make you believe in dreaming again and how great it can be. One can only imagine what a full set by them would be with an audience that is hanging on every word and note the band play. When they come back East in late June, Mutual Benefit should not be missed if you want to be immersed in a living dream.
John McCauley came onto the stage and before playing a single note said “those of you skeptical about this, let’s talk after the first song is over”. The crowd applauded wildly after “Twenty Miles” and all John and the rest of the band could do was smile. Though Deer Tick played acoustic all evening, there was always a sense that the crowd and band both wanted to get rowdy. The palpable energy in the room was always around, even during the quieter numbers. The stage was covered in small lamps to give the whole evening a feel of being in a café. It was truly wonderful to hear how perfect their songs sounded in the acoustic format. Deer Tick definitely worked hard for this tour to turn these rockers into wonderful quieter acoustic numbers.
The band was on fire all night as this was the third to last show of the run. Newer song “Card House” fit in with the rest of their material, standing right up next to “Nevada” and “Christ Jesus,” which saw John pour his heart out on stage. When Ian O’Neil pulled out his electric guitar, John began to joke about the fact that though billed acoustic, there are reasons for the quotation marks on all the promotion and that they could do whatever they pretty much felt like. Christopher Ryan was dialed in all night on the upright and regular bass adding depth to each song alongside Robert Crowell on piano, organ, and saxophone. Dennis Ryan was a machine on the drums and paced the evening with ease. Closing the main set out with a Velvet Underground cover of “Pale Blue Eyes” into “Mange” was a great way to let loose. The funky jam between the two songs was a masterful couple of minutes.
Each member of the band left the stage one by one as the jamming at the end of “Mange” gave each one a chance to show off for the crowd before exiting. The four song encore was a victory lap for the band and had the crowd on their feet by the end of “Dirty Old Town” and the following “Ashamed,” to officially close the evening out. Deer Tick were clearly having a blast on stage and it should produce some great music going forward.
Article: Bryan Lasky