Newport Folk Festival: Deer Tick

Newport veterans Deer Tick hit the Quad Stage and kept the momentum of the afternoon rolling with a set that set the audience off into frenzy. The packed tent was lined by rows of onlookers and even more fans behind them seated comfortably to enjoy the show with the help of the jumbo screens that flanked the stage.

Front man John McCauley took the stage to a roaring crowd accompanied by Ian O’Neil on guitar, Christopher Ryan on bass, Rob Crowell on keys, and Dennis Ryan on drums. The set opened strong with hits off of the bands recent album Divine Providence that was released last October. Most notable was “The Bump” that made the band and audience jump out of their skin with excitement as they shouted “we act like kids” over and over.

There was never a dull moment in Deer Tick’s set with McCauley’s perfectly raspy vocals drawing you in with each track. Early on in the set McCauley belted out, “This whole world/and everything you see/there ain’t nothing that’ll keep you from/getting to me” during the hit song “Easy” off of their 2012 release Born On Flag Day.

The set pulled from a few of Deer Tick’s albums including “Ashamed” off of War Elephant, “Twenty Miles” off of The Black Dirt Sessions, “Clownin Around” and “Now It’s Your Turn” off of Divine Providence. As each song came to a close, the crowd’s cheers vibrated off the walls of the Fort more and more.

The Providence, RI natives are described as a combination of folk, blues, and country and have been compared to acts like Lucinda Williams and Modest Mouse. What stood out to me the most about this set is how genuinely effortless the stellar performance was from the whole band. They all seemed incredibly comfortable and like they were really having a good time up on stage – often that detail can make or break a set.

What’s surprising was how much individuality there is within the band, yet they all still fit together so well. With McCauley on stage in pink and plaid sided by Ryan in a white collared button down and aviators, one can’t help but smile at the mismatched serendipity of their style. If you didn’t make it out to see them today, come back next year. There’s a good chance that Deer Tick will be back because it’s no secret that they love Newport as much as Newport loves them.

By Jeeyoon Kim

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