Videos by American Songwriter
Photographs by Laura Brown
The thinning crowd and advance into Monday morning gave John McCauley and Deer Tick the opportunity to explore some weirdness after openers Justin and the Cosmics and Dawes rocked to a pretty full house on a Sunday night. McCauley teased Nirvana riffs on his Fender Jag, performed songs without the band, took over on drums for one song and gave the late-staying loyals perhaps a little too much info during his in-between song banter. After signing vinyl copies of Deer Tick’s new release Born On Flag Day (Partisan Records), McCauley rattled off his primary guitar-playing influences, counting off on his fingers as if he’d done a thousand times before: “Springsteen, Cobain, Townes, Leadbelly…” and one other we can’t remember. For all the spontaneity and looseness of this particular show, the four members of Deer Tick, each in their early early 20s, displayed near-virtuosity on their instruments and a remarkable cohesion and tightness as a band. Holding it all up, of course, is really good songwriting: classic, hummable melodies and compelling lyrics and storytelling.
Deer Tick is Chris Ryan, John McCauley, Dennis Ryan and Andy Tobiassen (L to R).
McCauley, sans shirt.