Deer Tick won over the mostly Felice Brothers crowd with the first song. You would never think that the crowd assembled wasn’t 100% behind them. I loved their CD War Elephant that displays John McCauley’s incredible gift for song writing and melody. It has been re-released on a new label. But seeing is believing and Deer Tick delivers just as much and more live.
Deer Tick musicianship is evident. They rocked strong and tight at Spiegleworld. John McCauley’s gritty raw vocals were in contrast to the clear almost pristine musicianship. A polished rawness was the result, a weird but unexpected dichotomy. This band can shuffle it up acoustically, sing classic style country tales and tear it up with rock n roll. Deer Tick’s outstanding lead guitarist Andre Tobiassen, was unleashed at many points during the set. John also has great guitar skills. Chris Ryan on electric / double bass and Dennis Ryan on drums were perfect accompaniment.
Starting strong with “Ashamed” / what a crying shame / what we became /. John McCauley put his metal fingers to string on acoustic guitar and nice shuffle drumming during “Art isn’t Real (City of Sin)”. A killer song and heartfelt lament was “Song about a Man” / tugging at your lips to make you frown / that integrated harmonica and stand up with bow. For “Little White Lies” John abandoned his acoustic for a baby blue electric. Baltimore Blues # 1 lead guitar was amazing. Their 10-song set concluded with fancy 50’s classic and encore cover of La Bomba.
Standing up front next to me were two enthusiastic newly initiated fans. They were so smitten, they asked Dennis Ryan for a drumstick souvenir, he obliged. I'm looking forward to a headlining Gig!
The Felice Brothers can wow. 19 songs and counting and counting. They feed off of each other and the audience. Their crazy, rambunctious, loose, sloppy barn stomp combining the guitar, bass, fiddle, accordion, washboard and drums is unforgettable.
The Felice Brothers are in constant motion and rotation. So their show is equally as interesting to hear, as it is to watch. There were tender moments as well and they are staged to provoke interest. Especially strong was James Felice on accordion singing “Mary Don’t You Cry” and “Ruby Mae” with the earthy rough vocal of Ian Felice. Frankie’s Gun was a crowd pleaser. They introduced two new songs from their upcoming March release. Run Chicken Run was great and the accordion intro to Coney Island song / here comes the rain pounding on Coney Island /. Song 19 was the best audience participation chant directed by Simone Felice. He was perched on top of his drum kit directing the crowd, saying “You must repeat dying people, watch for the signal”.
Longest encore... This was exciting. The bands staging area extended to the ledge where our coats and drinks were propped. Things revved up considerably when Deer Tick joined them for what I thought was a grand finale. Little did I know that the Felice batteries just don’t die. I put my camera and notes away and they played an additional 45 minutes of unbridled music.
Seeing The Felice Brothers is like having a hangover without even partaking in one single drink. But I was drunk with excess and woke up in a haze singing I put some whiskey, into my whiskey. Can’t get this shit out of my head.