words & photos by Tracy Allison
DOWNLOAD: Deer Tick - Sun Street (Katrina & the Waves cover) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Deer Tick - 20 Miles (MP3)
Last night (6/7), Deer Tick played a private show on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise boat The Jewel in celebration of their friend's birthday. Around 7 p.m., a line wrapped around the pier on 23rd street and FDR while approximately 200 close friends slowly began to board the boat for the surprise party.
The evening began with the members of Deer Tick playing backup for singer-songwriter Jonny Corndawg, who engaged the entire audience to the point in which everyone in sight began shouting along to the music and providing backup vocals for his song "Shut Up".
Around 9 p.m., Deer Tick took the stage- a very dimly lit area that took up the entire bow of the lower half of the boat. The theme for the night (aside from sailor hats and lei necklaces) seemed to be getting iced: John McCauley, sporting a gold tooth and straw hat, took a knee three times during Deer Tick's set to chug a Smirnoff Ice. McCauley began the set by singing the words, "I've got a cock that's hard as a rock/Every time I see my Johnny", a special song he wrote for the birthday boy.
"Let's do something stupid and maybe tomorrow we'll remember it." McCauley said before setting down his beer and beginning to play "Easy". Throughout the course of the 90 minute set, Deer Tick played songs from their previous two albums War Elephant and Born on Flag Day, as well as cover songs such as Lightnin' Hopkins' "Bring Me By Shotgun" and Tom Petty's "Breakdown" which provided a segway into a beautifully violent version of "These Old Shoes."
McCauley then stated, "We're going to do a cover song. Maybe you guys have heard of it..." and began to sing "Happy Birthday", which was followed by the birthday boy getting iced and the entire band shotgunning beers.
Towards the middle of the set, the noise began to mellow out with a slowed down rendition of "Diamond Rings 2007" with the lyrics changed to, "What good would fingers be/If it weren't for onion rings/Now I know you're leaving me/So I'm going to Burger King." However, things quickly began to pick up again, Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus joined the band for a song, and the audience went wild dancing and cheering as Deer Tick finished up their set with the appropriately chaotic "La Bamba".
The Jewel returned to the dock at 11 p.m., with no one completely content returning to land after such an amazing night on the East River.
Deer Tick's new album The Black Dirt Sessions is out TODAY (6/8). A track from that album is on the top of this post (Amazon is giving away the same song too) along with the track Deer Tick did for our Katrina and the Waves cover EP. They kick off a tour with shows at Maxwell's and Webster Hall this July. More pictures from the boat below...