Deer Tick changes gears, at­tracts new au­di­ences

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Rob Wil­liams

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.

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