[photo courtesy of Dan Meade from Gig Ape]
It was undoubtedly one of the most memorable concert experiences of my life — The Replacements at The Ritz in the Summer of 1986. The band was apparently riding high, touring on one of the greatest albums of the era Tim. The album was released in the Fall of 1985, and by the Summer of ’86 it established The Replacements as the foremost alternative band of the time. The motley crew of Midwest punks had matured into a powerful unit led by the increasingly confident Paul Westerberg and the rambunctious lead guitar of Bob Stinson. That night on East 11th Street, I entered the venue as the concert began with “Bastards of Young”, the lead track of side two of Tim. As inebriated as the band were the massive throngs of fans, one of whom leapt from the balcony into the slam-dancing front of the crowd. They weren’t called “mosh pits” yet. The concert is also legendary because Westerberg himself jumped into the crowd and broke his wrist, resulting in the cancellation of the balance of the tour and sending the band into a few month of hiatus. By the time the Replacements returned Bob Stinson had left the band, and things were never the same. But for that single manic and magic alcohol-fueled night in the Summer of 1986, The Replacements were the best band on the planet.
Twenty-five years later in the exact same venue (now called Webster Hall), I was fortunate to experience another magical night courtesy of one of today’s foremost heirs to the legacy of The Replacements — Deer Tick. The sold-out crowd was similarly exuberant, the alcohol flowed freely (and covered the stage by show’s end), and most special of all, Deer Tick played a picture perfect cover of “Bastards of Young” (streaming below). Fortunately, no limbs were broken in the process, although several guitars, keyboards and amps were smashed in the anarchy of the show and tour finale. We’ve seen Deer Tick cover Tim material before — their performance this Summer of “Waitress in the Sky” appeared on nyctaper in August [here]. But this time it was special, not only because of the incredible coincidence of location, but because Deer Tick has seemingly fully realized and embraced their position as the contemporary carriers of the torch for a particular musical approach and attitude. Just as the Replacements had little regard for the pretense and affectation of the bastions of “serious” rock music, Deer Tick’s approach has evolved into a group intent on making music that’s all about being young, living on the edge, drinking too much, and having a ball, all the while maintaining enough of a creative edge to guarantee that the music has staying power. John McCauley is equally comfortable performing a solo version of the bitter poignancy of John Prine’s “Unwed Fathers”, or Deer Tick’s mournful “Houston TX”, as much as he is smashing his guitar during “Let’s All Go To The Bar.” Similarly, while the Replacements cover is the take-away from this show, the encore set began with John Lennon’s tragic and painful “Mother” (also streaming below).
Of course, there is a cost to this approach. As the Replacements burned out far too soon, and suffered the wrath of their contemporary critics, one fears that Deer Tick may not be capable of continuing this peak level of performance. Already, the dinosaurs of indie criticism have unleashed the backlash. A creative writing school dropout named Ian Cohen published a hatchet job on the new Deer Tick album Divine Providence on Pitchfork, which was so utterly devoid of any honest understanding of the music (or music in general) and reeked of an agenda, that its hard to take the review seriously. Deer Tick doesn’t seem to have. And although Pitchfork hasn’t been a serious tastemaker to non-casual music fans in nearly a decade, there’s probably a lesson in there. Don’t let the magic get away so soon. Just as that 1986 night at The Ritz was the Waterloo for the best era of The Replacements, it all can end with a simple stage dive or taking your critics too seriously. By the end of ’86, Westerberg had fired Bob and sacrificed his creative edge for a big record deal. One can only hope that Deer Tick will stay with the excellent Partisan Records, and keep their energy, confidence and perspective. I suspect that if Ian Cohen was stroking his thesaurus in 1986, he would have panned Tim. I also suspect that John McCauley already understands all of this. At least I hope he does.
I recorded this set with the Neumann microphones mounted in the center of the soundboard booth at the balcony rail, and mixed with an excellent soundboard feed. Deer Tick’s front of house sound engineer for this tour was the excellent Melanie, who has also mixed in several local venues. Her mix on this night was simply superb and we’re extremely please with the quality of this recording. Enjoy!
Stream “Bastards of Young”:
Direct download of complete show in MP3 files (HERE)
Download the Complete show in FLAC [HERE].
Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.
New York, NY USA
Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix
Soundboard + Neumann KM-150s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 2x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, downsample set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and Tagging via Foobar)
Recorded and Produced
[Total Time 1:52:54]
01 The Bump
03 Baltimore Blues No 1
04 [guitar tech]
05 Main Street
06 Chevy Express
07 Walkin Out The Door
09 Bastards Of Young [Replacements]
10 [banter – Sunday]
11 Clownin Around
12 Funny Word
13 These Old Shoes
14 [banter – Hardy intro]
15 Hurts to Watch [Diamond Rugs]
16 Houston TX
17 Song About A Man
18 Unwed Fathers
19 Something to Brag About
20 Now Its Your Turn
21 Miss K
22 Something In The Way [Nirvana]
23 Not So Dense
24 [encore break]
25 Mother [John Lennon]
26 [banter – entertainment too]
27 Bring Me My Shotgun [Lightning Hopkins]
29 Let’s All Go To The Bar
If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Deer Tick, visit their website, and purchase their official releases including Divine Providence from the Partisan Records Store [HERE].