ASBURY PARK – Lest there be any confusion from the starting gate; it wasn’t Bradford Cox’s ambient punk group Deerhunter or the long gestating art rock of Deerhoof that took the stage Friday night at The Stone Pony. On the second date of their presidential campaign inspired tour the Providence, Rhode Island based Deer Tick played to a packed house on one of the biggest “holidays” of the year.
Security was on an airport level of high alert attempting to keep would be tokers at bay which brought an interesting juxtaposition to the last, and first, time I saw Deer Tick at the “vibe” heavy Bonnaroo 2011. Regardless of everyone’s varied levels of inebriation, the band took the stage dressed in spring colored suits worthy of Don Draper on the weekend. Employing only casino style lights to spell out their name, principal songwriter John McCauley led Deer Tick through selections from their vast alt-blues catalogue including their latest LP Divine Providence and EP Tim. Sadly, as far as I can gather, the band did not delve into their recent collaboration with Daniel Johnston titled “Space Ducks”.
“This is our first time playing Asbury Park,” said McCauley. “So we figured what better place than The Stone Pony? Right?”
Deer Tick had no problem winning over the near capacity audience as the median post college aged crowd sang and danced along in unison with the band’s breakdowns and occasional noodling. Overall the band delivered on a high-energy set that saw them produce their refined stage aesthetic worthy of their aural progressions and The Stone Pony stage.
Deserving of a mention is the Nashville garage rock band Turbo Fruits who opened the show with their southern-Dinosaur Jr. tinged sound that complemented the headliners, and brought a great level of cohesion to another great rock show in the canon of Asbury Park lore.