Just seven months since their raucous and beer soaked show at the Triple Rock Social Club last November, Deer Tick returned to Minneapolis to headline First Avenue for the first time. With an 18+ crowd, doors opened early and those who weren’t there in time to see former Local H lead man, Scott Lucas, rip through a dark and heavy set with his band The Married Men, surely missed out. The band, which included an accordion and violin player, worked through a few originals before playing “I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Beatles. Their set ended with an eerie and dynamic version of the traditional “Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down)”. Scott Lucas finished the song on the microphone screaming the song title for what felt like minutes. The minimal crowd was entirely silent, and I’ve never heard the First Avenue mainroom echo so hauntingly.
The garage-rocking Nashville, TN four-piece, Turbo Fruits, were up next. Lead by curly haired Jonas Stein on guitar and vocals, the young band barely took a rest as they powered through a rocking and thoroughly enjoyable set of guitar shredding goodness. At one point, Stein asked the crowd if they knew where Hibbing was. After some yells from the crowd, Jonas said with a slight drawl, “My grandfather has a lake house up there, and I’ve been going since I was a kid. Those people have funny accents.” This is a band I am going to keep my eye on.
By the time Deer Tick took the stage, the mainroom was two-thirds full. Singer and guitarist, John McCauley, looking road-weary and adorning a non-ironic mustache, picked at his well-worn Fender Jag-Stang and got things going with the mellow “Ashamed” from the band’s 2007 album, War Elephant. From then on, the show slowly built with intensity until the final song. In stark contrast to the drunken mess that ensued at the Triple Rock last fall, the mostly young crowd at First Avenue was respectful this night. Half way through the set, guitarist Ian O’Neil, expressed his love for Minneapolis, and his appreciation for everyone who came out. Soon after, the band again recognized Minneapolis’ music roots (as they did in November) with a nice version of “Kiss Me on the Bus” by The Replacements. The covers weren’t over, as later the band invited Turbo Fruits to the stage. “This one goes out to MCA,” McCauley said before thrashing through the Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right (To Party)”.
Rather than wasting time with an encore break, Deer Tick kept going and ended the night with Turbo Fruits on stage for “Let’s All Go to the Bar” from the fine 2011 release, Dear Providence. The musicians emptied a blue cooler of Budweisers and poured them down each others throats while singing the choruses together. And just as John McCauley did at the Triple Rock, he dropped his pants and “strummed” (with his penis) at his guitar that Jonas Stein of Turbo Fruits so kindly the held for him (see last photo). That’s a Deer Tick show for you.
Photos taken for music blog, Reviler. Check it out!