DEER TICK + TURBO FRUITS @ EL REY THEATER

May 15th, 2012 | Live reviews

On a night that promised tequila-filled amateurs roaming the streets and a “super moon,” many people were barring their doors, stockpiling ammunition and preparing to spend a quiet evening alone, but those brave souls who ventured to Deer Tick at El Rey Theater on Saturday night were handsomely rewarded.

Openers Turbo Fruits, which is ex-Be Your Own Pet’s guitarist-now-frontman Jonas Stein, rocked fast and heavy. The song “Mama’s Mad Cos I Fried My Brain” from the band’s first 7-inch had every member and some of the crowd belting out the “whoa-oh-oh” chorus that steadily brought more people to the front, interested in the four-piece from Nashville.

Proud residents of the state of Rhode Island, Deer Tick started its set with a few tracks off its newest album Divine Providence.

Deer Tick’s sound comes from a vast array of influences and as each member of the band took a turn singing, different musical genres were introduced—if only for a song. On “Main Street,” which is a slow blast of alt-country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, you can almost see the Black Lips lighting the fuse to that song, mischievously hiding in the wings of the theater.

After a song with a gratuitous saxophone solo, main Tick John McCauley slowed down the evening with a few solo acoustic songs, including a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita” sung in the key of Dwight Yokam. It’s a song that would make Elliot Smith cry, about a man strung out on heroin in Echo Park.

Next, Deer Tick kicked-it by bringing the Turbo Fruits onstage for “(You Gotta) Fight for your Right (To Party),” a tribute to MCA, who passed away Friday. In a gesture of hip-hop solidarity, he even poured out some beer on the stage.

As the crowd’s cheers increased, Deer Tick reciprocated with its single “Miss K” and then a fairly standard yet timely rendition of “La Bamba.” Last but not least the band played a Dropkick Murphys-esque anthem, “Let’s All Go to the Bar,” which brought the members of Turbo Fruits back onstage with a bottle of whiskey. It was time to party.

—Dan Shapiro