Zeus hurls lightning bolts thundering through a crowd of various ages. Floorboards rumbled, viscera shook and teeth chattered with each thunderous note. This, the Holy Suns noted, is what a bass should sound like. Unfortunately for the audience, it was a less than pleasant experience.
As the opener for Providence-based Americana band Deer Tick at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Holy Suns did everything a good opener band is supposed to do: make you wait for the headliner. Dolorean, who performed next, was untouched by the need to crank the low end of their speakers, and their Jeff Tweedy vibe and balance contributed to a gorgeous set. Dolorean was a welcome musical oasis from the bands it followed and preceded, as Christopher Denny argued (in poor taste) with the sound engineer and managed an even louder and more unbalanced bass. As the saying goes, God helps those who help the sound engineer.
With Christopher Denny gone, the anticipation only grew amongst the ‘Tickers, as the hour grew closer to midnight. When John Joseph McCauley III and his band took the stage, it was to introduce yet another act, Nashvillian Jonny Corndawg, who performed country-tinged songs backed by Deer Tick. As the fourth song wore on, an a capella piece, something extraordinary gave way and McCauley’s voice rung out familiar lyrics.
Scraggly, squeezed vocals formed an a capella version of “Dirty Dishes,” with the crowd following along. As they jammed into a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love,” Deer Tick wasn’t on their perfect game that Friday night. They seemed a bit rushed, gassing through their first four songs in little more than ten minutes, and McCauley certainly seemed a bit more raucous on the stage than his counterparts. Still, at $3 a band, it was a fair deal, even if just for Deer Tick and Dolorean. Though less might’ve been more.

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