Langhorne Slim, Deer Tick @ Black Cat, Washington DC - 21 May 2014.
Langhorne Slim & The Law
This is the third or forth time I have seen Mr Slim and the Law. Don't ever forget the Law as the rhythm section and keyboard/banjo player are essential to bringing life to Slim's songs. And he writes great songs, certainly for a rousing live set.
The personality and enthusiasm is still shining through tonight and he has plenty of his own fans here in this nearly full room. Call and response worked in one song without prompting and there was plenty of movement in the crowd, especially when the fine keyboardist brought out a banjo. Not only is this a headliner quality act, and has been for a long time, but they played a packed 47 minute set that rocked the house. Always a pleasure.
A New England friend of mine told me many years ago of a hot songwriter named John McCauley (aka Deer Tick) who played folk shows and had songs that approached Dylan quality. My friend was disappointed when he converted his solo folk style into a fully formed rock band. Well, it worked out ok for Bob Dylan, and it is working extremely well here for the band Deer Tick.
This was the second of two Black Cat shows. The first sold out, and this one did not have much room left by the time this quintet hit the stage. There are two guitars that work well together along with the rhythm section and keyboardist who is capable of pulling a saxophone out for some welcome blasts. You can hear quality songwriting here as well as enjoy the arrangements that rock solidly in many different ways.
Even the vocals are a little Dylanesque with a warm nasal tone, although they seem to have fun with some of these songs. My favorite was "Shitty Music Festival" whose title kind of says it all. I believe that was McCauley's wife Vanessa Carlton who guested on vocals, which was a nice bonus. This band has a balance of all the things needed for success, starting with great songs. You can't go wrong there and they didn't tonight.
Photo Credits: (1) Langhorne Slim (2)-(3) Deer Tick (unknown/website).