Trampled by Turtles and Deer Tick at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo
“See Concerts. Save Animals.”
This is the slogan for Woodland Park Zoo’s summer concert series in Seattle, and they couldn’t have hosted a more appropriate twin bill than Deer Tick and Trampled By Turtles on Wednesday night.
(Disclaimer: If you’re looking for the sort of review that includes predictable fodder like setlists, look elsewhere.)
Deer Tick, which opened Wednesday’s proceedings with a 45-minute set, have a fabulous song off their latest album called “Me and My Man.” One would think this to be a touching story of gay romance, as it’s sung by a male, but it’s actually not — it’s about a man and his dog, Reginald. The canine’s breed wasn’t specified, but I imagine Reginald to be a Rottweiler — tough as age-old beef jerky when he needs to be, but only when he needs to be.
Such are the things you learn when you see Deer Tick live. They’re smart and funny, and they play wonderfully without trying too hard. Covering “You Are So Beautiful,” I swear to God they sang, “Mac and chee-ee-ee-ee-ese” instead of “to me-ee-ee-ee-ee,” which made sense in the moment, because some folks near the stage were toking herb. Along with Phosphorescent, one could consider Deer Tick to be the leaders of an insurgent sub-genere called Mumblecore Americana.
The Woodland Park Zoo has a 9 p.m. curfew, so its shows are early and exceedingly kid-friendly. Deer Tick took the stage promptly at 6, and some guy asked a medic, “You wouldn’t happen to have a pleasant disposition in that first-aid kit?” That line would be totally awesome if he were hitting on the medic, but he wasn’t. He was just being a classic Seattleite, so it sort of sucked.
Trampled By Turtles is a band that’s worth rooting for, building their fan base through perseverance, harmony and an effervescence that’s nearly impossible not to become afflicted with while you’re watching them, transporting fans of a certain age back to al fresco String Cheese Incident or Leftover Salmon shows where deodorant and shoes were seemingly prohibited.
All strings, Trampled By Turtles stands six-wide across the stage. They reminded me of the Eagles, absent overblown egos or piano-key-necktie tunes infused with disco and cocaine.