Live review: Deer Tick



Deer Tick w/ Dead Confederate

Visulite Theatre

July 25, 2010

The Deal: Deer Tick returns to Charlotte with Dead Confederate in tow.


The Good: Dead Confederate hit the stage first for a roughly 40-minute set full of loud rock with a Southern edge. The quintet featured two guitars, bass, drums and a keyboardist for something a bit more grungy and indie about it's approach. The loud volume offered a kind of wall of noise leaving the stage with lyrics and occasional keyboard notes hitting the high spots amongst the din.

When the band found time to slow things down, the vocals were given more weight in a quasi-Pink Floyd style with the drums driving the songs ahead. The singer had a bit of Smashing Pumpkins/Silversun Pickups vibe to his tone. It could be a little difficult to differentiate between songs for the unfamiliar, but the crowd quickly got into it and craved more after they left.

Deer Tick came out and established a bit of '50s style in their straight-forward indie rock. The quintet alternated singers a couple of times between the gruff Cobain-esque style of John McCauley and smoother Ian O'Neil. There were moments when McCauley's tone sounded like Dylan — if Dylan was a good singer.


McCauley, who is in a band with Taylor Goldsmith (frontman of Dawes) and Matt Vasquez (frontman of Delta Spirit), performed the song "Daydream" from that band — MG&V. McCauley joked that the band sounds regretfully close to MGMT when spoken. He truly shined during that song and the first encore, "Diamond Rings," when he was on his own, finger-picking his guitar and letting his vocals ring out — evidence that an acoustic album would be an aural delight.

The band, which played a number of songs from its latest release, The Blackdirt Sessions, teased to a few covers — playing the entire "Maybelline" early in the night before hinting to The Byrds, Eminem and Metallica later on. They ended their regular set with a cover of "Cheap Sunglasses."

The Bad: The volume. I saw a few people commenting on how loud it was, and even with ear plugs, I found my ears ringing a bit after I left.

The Verdict: Not too long ago, the band was here opening for Neko Case at the Knight Theatre and both band and crowd agreed it wasn't quite the right venue. This time around, in the packed confines of The Visulite, the band showed its mettle and won over any non-believers in quick fashion.

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