Posted October 28, 2013 by Gabrielle Sukich in Show Reviews

Deer Tick, Robert Ellis // 10-23-13 // Wonder Ballroom


Preceding Deer Tick at the Wonder Ballroom was Houston, Texas native Robert Ellis. This urban cowboy crooner sang of broken hearts and booze. He was joined on stage by pedal steel player Will Van Horn and Geoffrey Muller on bass.

Ellis took us back to the roots of country, when country meant sitting on a creaky, wooden porch drinking and singing until your glass dried up. They were the perfect compliment to what was to come: the raw, rosey, and rootsy Deer Tick.

It is no surprise Portland enjoyed Deer Tick.

Deer Tick’s performance was high energy indie-folk at its finest. Looking at the stage, you immediately noticed the pink florescent sign with the word “Negativity”, which is exactly the title of their latest album recorded here in Portland. John McCauley (guitarist/singer) drew inspiration from what sounds like was one tough year to make this album.

The band seemed to have quite a soft spot for Portland; McCauley donned a brightly colored, rose-adorned suit in honor of the Rose City.

There were memorable percussive progressions by drummer Dennis Ryan and hearty bass by Christopher Dale Ryan hammered throughout the night, while Rob Crowell tickled ears with electric piano, organ, and saxophone. McCauley and Ian O’neil’s voices are deliciously unpleasant, and seeing this band live really helps in understanding why. Their guts were shamelessly chucked into every song and though their voices lacked elegance, the grit represented their music well. Yet, even with all of the negativity and hardness, when they played “The Dream’s in the Ditch”, there was still a glimmer of hope that it’s not all bad.

Gabrielle Sukich



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