Friday, November 15, 2013

Deer Tick @Union Transfer, Philadelphia 11-06-2013

Deer Tick performing "The Rock", live at the Union Transfer

Having never seen Deer Tick live before, but hearing of their live exploits over the years, I went in with pretty big expectations and happily they were met and then some. I didn't get into Deer Tick until 2011 and went back and discovered their older releases. And over the last few years there are few artists I've listened to more than them. It is startling to see their progression from a folky alt/country outfit to, well, the second coming of the Replacements. And the suit with red hearts worn by McCauley and "custom-made from a couch" is definitely something I could see Paul Westerberg wearing.

Deer Tick are just a great live band and even though the latest album, Negativity, has more contemplative piano-based songs, than their previous few releases, they still translated into a compelling live performance. Negativity is an apt title, as singer/guitarist/keyboardist John McCauley was going through a break up with Nicky Darlin of Those Darlins and his father (and Rhode Island state rep) was convicted of tax fraud. McCauley seems to have recovered OK from the former and is now dating singer Vanessa Carlton, who also appears on the album on a duet with McCauley ("In Our Time"). 

Their roughly 105-minute set was understandably heavy on their last two albums, with 5 tracks from 2011's Divine Providence and 9 tracks from Negativity, the former because it is full of the kind of up-tempo songs that translate well live and the latter obviously because it's the new album.

During the middle of the set they did a Q&A, where they read and answer questions taken randomly from a box at the merch stand. Each member of the band answered a question. Finally the last question, answered by McCauley, was, "Why don’t I like your new record at all?” McCauley then asked rhetorically, “Why did you come tonight, idiot?” And then the band started to play “Spend the Night” and changed the words to “Suck My Balls", before playing the song normally.


1. The Rock 
2. Main Street 
3. The Curtain 
4. Just Friends
5. The Dream’s in the Ditch 
6. Baltimore Blues No. 1 
7. Big House
8. Clownin’ Around 
9. Standing at the Threshold
10. Hey Doll 
11. Mange 


12. Spend the Night / I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You) (Hank Williams cover) 
13. Mr. Sticks 
14. Thyme 
15. Dirty Dishes 
16. She’s Not Spanish
17. Miss K >  
18. 12 Bar Blues (NRBQ cover)
19. Trash 
20. The Bump 
21. Easy


22. Ashamed
23. Let’s All Go to the Bar 

You can also check out a few videos from the show at my You Tube account.

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