Drive-By Truckers & Deer Tick Take over The Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, NH!

The Casino Ballroom at Hampton Beach, NH might initially be confused for a gambling establishment, but it has been host to some of the most prolific acts of the past 40 years.  After major renovations in the 1970’s, the new owners aimed to change the venue’s reputation to more of a rock-and-roll establishment, booking such iconic acts as U2, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Who.  On this Sunday night at the end of June, the Casino Ballroom was host to two bands who had never played at the venue.

As the main floor started filling up a little after 8:00pm, Providence, RI-based alternative rock band Deer Tick opened up the show.  Although the lineup has changed since their career started in 2004, lead singer John McCauley has always been at the helm.  After seeing them a few months back at the House of Blues in Boston, it was evident that this was a newly refreshed band, eager to bring a great show to the crowd.  The band covered all of their studio albums, with songs such as Ashamed and Twenty Miles, as well as Let’s All Go to the Bar, which is a huge fan-favorite.  McCauley was also joined by his wife, Vanessa Carlton, for the duet In Our Time.  One other standout song was Thyme, which featured lead vocals by drummer Dennis Ryan, and backing vocals by McCauley and guitarist Ian O’Neil.  The band finished the night strong with Ashamed, which resulted in a great sing-along moment until the very end.

When Drive-By Truckers took the stage, the crowd was more than ready for some great Southern rock….and they were not disappointed.  The band started off the night with The Righteous Path, a 2008 track from their seventh studio album.  The band continued to play their hits, including 3 Dimes Down, The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town, and the classic Steve McQueen, which is an ode to the actor deemed as “The King of Cool.”  For the final song of their set, roles were reversed, as lead singer Patterson Hood and lead guitarist Mike Cooley switched things up for Zip City.  As the band took a well-deserved break, the crowd was ready for more, and that’s exactly what they got.  The band played a stellar six-song encore, including a 10+ minute version of 18 Wheels of Love, which chronicles the courtship and life of his mother, Jan, and step-father Chester, who passed away in 2010.

After the final song of the night, Grand Canyon, Hood tuned down his guitar, turned up his amp, waved goodbye to the crowd, and left the stage.  His guitar continued to scream on stage, as Cooley, keyboardist Jay Gonzalez, bassist Matt Patton, and drummer Brad “The EZB” Morgan gave their thanks to the crowd, and walked off the stage.  It was an incredible night of music, and a great way to start the summer concert season.

Photos & Review By: Dave Gannon // Dave Gannon Photography
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