Deer Tick does a pretty good job of subverting your expectations. Judging from the album cover of their first full-length album, “War Elephant,” which includes nothing less than the band members sitting on a sand dune in front of two women in bikinis holding a shotgun and an AK-47, you might not expect the mellow fingerpicked guitars that follow. Moreover, after hearing Deer Tick’s infectious blend of tender folk and rollicking roots rock, you might not expect it to be something you could mosh to. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what we did at Deer Tick’s March 3 show at The Haunt. The night began with comedian Solomon Georgio taking us through his life as an African immigrant and “professional homosexual,” interweaving narratives of childhood bullies with social commentary on racism and homophobia.
Former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan spoke about his reaction to the 2011 nuclear meltdown and the reasons behind his drastic change in position — from strong support of nuclear power to opposing its use — at a packed Statler Auditorium on Tuesday.
Though Ithaca has a thriving basement scene, the undisputed DIY capital of the U.S. is another college town: New Brunswick, N.J. Advantageously situated within an hour of NYC, the scene attracts alternative acts from across the globe, and has spawned an impressive number of punk and indie bands, a small sample of whom found themselves on Saturday night, playing to a modest crown in the cozy, polychromatic basement of 660 Stewart. On their ninth day of touring, the bands were tired and apparently low on funds, but their spirits soared nonetheless, and each put on a high energy performance. The band originally set to open the show, Hoboken’s Rest Ashore, unfortunately had to cancel, but were replaced by Cornell’s own _____: an instrumental math-rock outfit with a name not meant to be pronounced. Jersey City’s Kadian Quartet followed, playing a progressive jazz-rock set, and though their music made them an outlier, both for the night and among the set of bands brought to campus by Fanclub Collective, they managed to be an audience favorite, generating eruptions of applause after each impressive piano and guitar breakdown. To those weary of what sometimes feels like the cookie-cutter DIY punk sound sported by so many of the bands brought to Ithaca by Fanclub and IU, the quartet came as a breath of fresh air.
Delightfully boisterous, the Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia band Santogold focuses a dizzying array of reggae-dub, groovy surf rock and buoyant pop melodies into a truly promising debut album. Led by front-woman Santi White’s shape-shifting vocals and bandmate John Hill’s scorching synthesizer play, Santogold does not linger in any single genre of music for too long — a scheme that works to stellar effect.