Deer Tick changes gears, attracts new audiences
DEER Tick is itching for change. On its latest album, Divine Providence, the Providence, R.I. quintet almost completely abandons the rootsy vibes of its past work and veers toward a more ramshackle sound that uses garage and rowdy rock ’n’ roll — think Hootenanny-era Replacements — as touchstones.
“The reason it sounds more aggressive is the frustration of taking the same route and people are calling you alt-country,” says guitarist Ian O’Neil. “If that’s all you’re going to be called you’ll just fall on the same crap any band regulated to a scene would, so we needed to make this record to stretch out a bit. We could have made a really weird record.”
It might not be that strange, but it’s different enough that some fans haven’t been happy with the change in direction. But for every one of those followers, there are others who have come on board, if crowd sizes at shows are any indication, says O’Neil, who joined the band in 2009.
The group initially started out as a country/folk-oriented solo project for John McCauley in 2004 but has evolved as membership in the band grew.
“We were just feeling that way and we were playing louder and louder,” says O’Neil, 24. “It’s really always hard With The Novaks, Turbo Fruits West End Cultural Centre Tuesday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $29 at Ticketmaster to tell but we definitely got more fans off this one based on record sales and shows. It’s definitely a success. It’s a challenging record for certain people to swallow: the old fans still like it, but there are always one or two people off. It’s funny that people are pissed off at you for changing.”
People can see for themselves where Deer Tick is at live these days Tuesday at the West End Cultural Centre when they make their local debut.
And where they are today, might not be where they are on the next album, O’Neil says.
“We’re working on a new direction — sideways, forward,” he says. “What we’ve got so far is weirder. One of the songs is Vaudeville with a theatrical melody to it with horns and stuff. We’ve got another that’s definitely more songwriter based. We’ve just been doing a lot of interesting stuff in the studio. Switching it up.”
The West End Cultural Centre hosts Deer Tick and its fans on Tuesday, but the venue will serve as host for the whole community today during the 13th annual Ellice Street Festival.
The free event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Ellice Avenue between Sherbrook and Langside streets. The party includes art activities, face painting, carnival games, community displays and live musical entertainment by Cruel Society, Mitten Claps, Indian City and Sol James.
A barbecue will be held from noon to 2 p.m. with hot dogs and drinks on sale for 25-cents.
Expect a whole lot of energy — and to hear the Operation Ivy album Energy — at the tonight’s Call*Response benefit
The night, dubbed Oh! California!, at the Pyramid Cabaret, features local artists paying tribute to ska-punks Operation Ivy, female rockers the Runaways and pop-punk outfit Screeching Weasel in support of the upcoming second volume of Call*Response, a series of books documenting the history of the Winnipeg music scene through stories and photos contributed by volunteers. The hardcover collections serve as a fundraiser for Kids Help Phone.
The first band is on at 10 p.m. Admission is $8.