MUSIC BOX: It won’t be hard to spot this Deer Tick

By on March 26, 2013

Does Deer Tick sometimes get a bad rap? Misunderstood? When I caught up to guitarist/vocalist Ian O’Neil, he explained that it’s because “we are not inclined to do what people are expecting of us.” What rock band would, right?

I dug my ears into the Providence, R.I. quintet’s discography and tried to wrap my head around where they are coming from, musically. I kept getting distracted, though, by public distaste of the band’s rock ‘n’ roll attitude, their alleged lack of tact. As the band’s label-issued bio honestly states, they are “100% Deer-Fucking-Tick” and “completely uninterested in whatever the hell the rest of the music industry is up to.”

Fist-pumping masculinity, thorny pessimism, debauchery, and that seemingly not-giving-a-damn perspective rolls confidently without blush on their loud, drunken rock affair and fourth LP, Divine Providence (2011). Though exploration into previous albums – like the folk roots of War Elephant (2007) – and forays into material that’s fleetingly mellow to Nirvana punky, is telling. Deer Tick’s approach is heterogeneous and can be rather thoughtful, too, while living up to a balls-to-the-wall live show (the reason for which Rolling Stone deemed frontman/songsmith/guitarist John McCauley one of “rock’s last true wild men”).

“[Not caring] is not an angle we’ve perpetuated out of spite for reputation itself,” O’Neil explained when asked about the edgy reputation. “I know we’re all thoughtful people and give very much a shit about what we’re doing. Even when it comes down to our heaviest, dumb rock songs – like ‘Let’s all go to the Bar’ – it’s not about the five of us wanting to go out and get drunk with underage women. It’s a specific character, an examination of that type of person … and also being able to play a fun rock song live.

“Dealing with the media is kind of an uphill battle.”

Deer Tick, 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Pink Garter Theatre. Tickets are $18/advance, $21/day-of-show at The Rose, Pinky G’s or

Mountain Fest

If you’re looking to go big on Mountain Fest weekend and catch the wave of free music that will ricochet off the Tetons this weekend, the Village has much to offer.

I didn’t realize how mainstream poppy headlining act O.A.R. (Of A Revolution) has become until I spun their latest single “Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes.” Not a diss, but a questionable fit for an end-of-season throw down in Jackson Hole. The New York Times described O.A.R. as “Matchbox Twenty plus Maroon 5 plus UB40,” with no mention of jamband as they were once associated. But it’s worth stating that even die hard O.A.R. fans (they’ve sold two-million albums since 2001) have acknowledged the band’s sway into new pop doesn’t deter them from loving the band’s best material, like “Crazy Game of Poker” and “Untitled,” which led them to sell out Madison Square Garden more than a couple of times.

O.A.R., 5 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Teton Village. Free, all-ages. New local rock band, Black Mother Jones opens. Fireworks follow the show, as well as Grateful Dead tribute band The Deadlocks at the Mangy Moose (9:30 p.m., $10).

Ramblin’ with Rosie

Honkytonkin’ and lonesome ballads to modern rock and country, Rosie and the Ramblers are the latest in a string of Austin bands to find the Silver Dollar stage. Get ready for some twangy Telecaster pickin’ and a pure, smooth voice that channels Kasey Chambers and Linda Ronstadt.

Rosie and the Ramblers, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Silver Dollar Bar. Free.

Party time, instigated

Wick-It the Instigator is known to have a tremendous stage personality. He’s a deejay that interacts well with the crowed while remixing Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Metallica, even Phil Collins, mixed in with some strait-up original material, dub-step and hip-hop. Apparently, he’s a guitar shredder too, and isn’t scared to bust one out.

307 Live presents Wick-It the Instigator, 10 p.m. Friday at Town Square Tavern. $10. 

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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