Last night Deer Tick graced Portland with a set at Bunk Bar. The band was originally due in Portland in mid-December of last year (it visited last in November), but its recording sessions in the Rose City with producer Steve Berlin were pushed a couple months forward and are underway this week. Shortly after 10 pm the quintet took the stage, under a net of twinkle lights and in front of the many expectant eyes of the very crowded room. After a few references to Valentine's Day (including a two-part straw poll), the band jumped into first song "The Bump" after singer John McCauley officially declared the night "a singles mixer."
Many of Deer Tick's own songs became more rhythmic in their live incarnations than they are on record—songs such as one of the night's highlights "Baltimore Blues," which was played early on in the two-hour set. Another notable tune was the group's cover of Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," which was played with energy to spare, boisterous, rocking and biting, the vigor fully communicating the narrator's cravings. Nearly every audience request was honored, ranging from "more country" (met with a honky-tonk improvisation) to many of the band's own songs (including "20 Miles," which many of the members didn't seem to want to play). There was a time in the show when McCauley was left to his own devices, serenading the fervant crowd onstage alone. When the full band returned, an additional guitarist was in tow.
Just after midnight, Deer Tick closed its lengthy encore with its song "Let's All Go to the Bar" before McCauley promptly unzipped and brought down his pants. This came after a brief onstage make-out session with guitarist Ian O'Neil midway through the set. Overall, it was an evening marked with hijinks and melodies, ramblings, good music and a contagiously positive vibe that brought out smiles all around.
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