Crowd chemistry is an interesting phenomenon. Every show is unique from that perspective and I often find as much enjoyment observing the collective as much as the band.
This past Thursday at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa an extremely happy crowd was treated to a fine evening of Americana, roots, folk, bluegrass and rock music.
Hailing across the country from Providence, Rhode Island, Deer Tick presented a cross section of its entire catalog. With John McCauley taking on the majority of the lead vocals, the band switched up between bluegrass, roots-driven folk and rock.
Blending acoustic and electric offerings in an hour onstage — beginning with ”Sea Of Clouds” and edgy rock-fueled “Mange” and closing with a softly presented cover of “You Are So Beautiful” — Deer Tick kept the set fresh and gave fans a lot to chew on.
Minnesota’s Trampled By Turtles conversely stuck to a highly bluegrassian tone. Kicking of several months of touring with the Tahoe appearance, Dave Simonett led them on a healthy dose of selections from their new record, “Life Is Good On The Open Road,” from his position in the middle of a solid line of six artists across the stage.
Harmonies from Tim Saxhoug and Dave Carroll augmented Simonett, while the two held down the low-end and banjo duties as well. Ryan Young’s fiddle, which he preferred to bow his solos out most often in a bent over arc, along with the mandolin stylings of Erik Berry brought some jam into the grass framework.
Supported visually by a simplistic light rig behind, and faces illuminated from below, Trampled By Turtles are a reserved bunch onstage, not really moving much from their individual cocoons. Sure, they can get a little rambunctious from time to time, but crossing over into a fellow band members bubble seemed verboten.
But the crowd — whose more energetic dancers occupied the rear and sides of their assigned general admission tiers of the showroom — didn’t care. Neither did the couples, and there were large numbers who embraced and smooched before, during and after songs. They smiled as much as any bunch I’ve seen and were even friendly to a photographer slinking around to get a few extra.
Solid performances, good times and clean fun on a Thursday night in Tahoe.
– Michael Smyth