The fellas in Deer Tick really pulled one out, er, off on the crowd Thursday night at First Avenue. They sure did hit it on the head. All their members rose to the occasion.
I could go on and on with the euphemisms, but let me just get to the point (oh, there's another one!): Deer Tick frontman John McCauley took out his penis and used it as a guitar pick for the big finale at First Avenue on Thursday. Actually, it wasn't that big (sorry, last one). He had some help from one of the dudes in opening band the Turbo Fruits, who knelt down and held onto McCauley's instrument for him. His guitar, that is. The frontman proceeded to dangle his dingle over the strings for the final few waves of noise out of his amp. It only lasted a few seconds, but the image of it will probably be stuck in fans’ memories for years. Unfortunately.
His band was just wrapping up "Let's All Go to the Bar," the rowdy, fall-down highlight from its blast of a new album, "Divine Providence." Prior to it, they played an equally boisterous and (yep) cocky version of the Beasties’ "Fight for Your Right," dedicated to MCA. So McCauley's stunt seemed to fit right in to the bratty, boozy vibe of the finale and the band's whole Replacements-copping vibe -- which included a nicely rollicking cover of "Kiss Me on the Bus" midway through the 90-minute set (John Prine and Johnny Corndawg songs rounded out their quartet of covers).
The boisterous finish probably would have seemed a bit too, um, boneheaded, but – like the Replacements -- these Rhode Island twang-rockers tempered their wild antics earlier in the show with a treasure trove of more serious, bittersweet tunes. One of the best was the opener “Ashamed,” even though McCauley (performing it solo) briefly botched the lyrics. “We haven’t played that one in a long time … since, like, Sunday,” he cracked before the band launched full-throttle into “The Bump.”
Drummer Dennis Ryan sang one of the most compelling downers of the night, “Clownin’ Around,” about serial killer John Wayne Gacy (Deer Tick’s apparent abundance of capable songwriters is another similarity to the ‘Mats). Many of the set’s other highlights also came from “Divine Providence,” including the anthemic “Main Street” and the jangly gem that should be the band’s hit, “Miss K.” Of course, you’re not going to become pop stars with what went down at show’s end. But you might at least become legendary. See also: The Replacements.
Click here for Leslie Plesser’s concert photo gallery (and no, even if she did get The Shot, do you actually think we’d post it?).