Deer Tick

Music Seen
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 8, 2010
A sea of very young hipsters with unfortunate haircuts attests: if you are a likable band with a healthy dose of blog buzz and more than one album under your belt, you can now have a big show in Portland, Maine.

Yes, Deer Tick sold out SPACE Gallery on Easter Sunday, and he brought a lot of bands to join him. First were Tiger Saw, the languid local jangle-slowcore group who recently marked 10 years in the New England scene with a published oral history of their travels, All My Friends Are Right Here With Me. (The band have recorded with Deer Tick’s John McAuley, furthering their case.) Dylan Metrano and company played a longish set of sometimes abruptly short vignettes, whose apparent subtleties were kind of tough to make out amid the filing-in of hundreds of people. (To see them in a more suitable setting, try Biddeford’s Hogfarm Studios Annex on Friday.)

A late add to the bill, the new Diamond Duds used their impressive pedigree (two of the three members are in Elvis Perkins’s backup band) to good effect at their second performance. Their maximalist aesthetic — big voices, big charisma — sounds like a country-fried take on the gushy Scottish miserablists Frightened Rabbit, and proved a nice primer for the briefly astounding entrance of Those Darlins. Beginning with a deft, giddy instrumental blending country stomp and surf/punk riffs, the Tennessee band of three Darlins (Kelley, Jessi, and Nikki, who is engaged to McAuley) and an upbeat drummer immediately proved their mettle, and went on to tear through a set of funny, sexy, wild-eyed kiss-offs, only flubbing on a grungy (and admittedly audacious) blues finale.

If anyone can follow that act, it’s the devil-may-care McAuley, whose current company is a muscular bar band whose sounds is moving away from eccentric, singular wails of heartache and toward more palatable boozers and brawlers. The results are something of a mixed bag artistically, particularly if you’d seen McAuley’s wild stage act before he’d found much success, but the jocular four-piece were having a blast, and their brand of enthusiasm is infectious.
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