BestFest: Buxton Incite Swoons, Deer Tick Get A Little Goofy

Maybe I've just never seen Buxton at a venue as large as this one before, but I've seen them play some pretty big places, and so far this is the biggest they've ever sounded. It was just confirmed for me that those guys can thrive equally well in either a modest, intimate environment like Canned Acoustica or in a sprawling vista such as this one. Their sound has gotten huge, and it was truly a thing of beauty.

Layers upon layers of harmonies, with acoustic guitar and keyboard providing an aural backdrop for the two lead guitars, a Gibson 335 and a Fender Mustang, both sounding lean, salty, and gorgeous. And that rhythm section... damn. It was inside my head.

They were adored by the crowd, which continues to swell. Deer Tick has their work cut for them as far as following that act goes. JOHN SEABORN GRAY

Before Deer Tick's late afternoon set on the main stage, they went for a ride in photographer Mark C. Austin's Jeep to film an installment of his online "Backseat Jukebox" series. The members piled into the small SUV and somehow managed to discombobulate the vehicle over the course of a handful of songs played in the backseat.

The band's set was a off-kilter, goofy, touching, and everything else that makes a great Deer Tick show. Lead singer John McCauley rambled between songs, something about a friend "selling" Jesus, and explained the absence of bassist Dale Ryan (he's at a wedding).

Guitarist Ian O'Neil asked about the status of Houston venue Walter's On Washington, which McCauley lived behind for a period a few years back.

The new material, off of next month's Divine Providence wasn't exactly as peppy as the band's earlier catalog, and McCauley sounds way more introspective this time around than usual, like some of the more self-effacing Replacements stuff.

Deer Tick isn't the sort of band though to put up a false front, though, and usually McCauley works out his demons live and on record. The mood of the set matched the heat and sweat of the afternoon, like a slow, close waltz.

Next up is Hayes Carll and Cake, who should brighten up the early evening. Can't wait to see that Houston skyline again. CRAIG HLAVATY

Everyone in Buxton kept their shirts on during their set, despite the entire crowd's pleas for them to take it all off. One audience member shouted out, "It is upsetting to me that your clothes are still on! Please take them off!" It was one of the most clear and polite cat calls I've heard from someone other than myself.

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Now I'm sitting, listening to Hayes Carl and giggling about Deer Tick's muff joke before they began their set. Singer John McCauley told us that he'd "played with some big muffs before." Before anyone realized what he said, he assured us that it was a guitar pun. He continued mumbling and then introduced the song: "I don't know what I'm talking about, I've taken a lot of amphetamines. This is a song about quitting drugs, because I want to be a dad one day."

The band was missing their bass player who had to attend a wedding instead of come to Houston to "sweat his ass off with all of us fine people." Despite this, they managed to breeze through the set without any issues. The stage looked like musical chairs by the end of the set - the drummer came out from behind his kit to help sing a duet, looking shy and out of place.

It was endearing. What wasn't as endearing was when a 16 year old boy approached me and asked me to buy him beer. Five minutes later, I saw his friends being escorted out by security. ALLISON WAGONER

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