The New Deal | 02.18.09 | New York

Words by: Greg Gargiulo | Images from:

The New Deal :: 02.18.09 :: Revolution Hall :: Troy, NY

The New Deal
Forget the stethoscope. If you truly want to test if someone's heart is circulating blood through the rest of their body, no medical tools are required. Just take them to a New Deal show. If you don't see him/her boogie, shake, shred or convulse into dance moves at least once throughout the music's duration - barring any physical incapacitations - you've got your answer: They're walking dead.

While knowledge of the movement-inducing rhythms, seamless flow, supernova-like peaks and general distinctiveness of "The New Deal sound" is leaps from the underground secret it once was in their early career, it's certainly a welcomed refresher to catch them at this current stage. The climate surrounding the Toronto-based trio has been shifting significantly in recent years. Bassist Dan Kurtz has been spending increasing amounts of time pursuing his founding role in the synth/retro pop project Dragonette. Keyboardist Jamie Shields and drummer Darren Shearer formed The Join which features alternating bassists from around the community, and have also created the hybrid, anything-goes outfit Omega Moos with Ryan Stasik and Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey's McGee. In effect, the aggressive touring schedule that defined them in years past has been traded for a few short tours, along with some intermittent festival and event appearances, while they balance it out with their exterior endeavors. By making it a bit more rare of an opportunity to see The New Deal live these days, they've created a more exciting atmosphere with fans anticipating shows with a far greater intensity.

Kicking off a 13-nighter spanning most of the Northeast, they warmed up a snowy Upstate New York crowd at Troy's Revolution Hall, a feat the Canucks are no strangers to after ten years of steady Stateside touring. Wasting little time getting the gears moving, the first jam of the night sent bodies flailing almost before bearings could even be caught, and within minutes the first of numerous eruptions was underway. Singling out each individual component of the whole, building on it, altering it, shining and refining it, the next stage is ALWAYS more emphatic, always stronger than the previous one with these guys. On top of that, their building blocks always have a distinct purpose and direction, whether they know exactly what it is at the time or need to further navigate to discover it. After the first jam leveled off, the next one rose back to glory with a delectable array of shimmering, celestial sounds that rolled and tumbled as the tempo picked up with each subsequent measure.

The New Deal
"Let's make this one memorable, shall we?" Shearer prompted at the first proper, albeit short-lived, breather, nearly 40 minutes into the set. What transpired next could've easily reserved a permanent cove in the memory banks of every mind present. First, a slightly downtempo "The Ray Parker Suite: Parts I & II" fed into a sweaty, thick, sailing reggae-infused jam, heavy on Kurtz's bass, Shields' orchestral keys and the throaty ragga vocals that moved hips. Here, as was the case throughout every moment of the show, their transitions between jams and songs were fluent and unnoticeable, reaching the desirable speeds and plateaus in the band's DNA. Another take-it-easy-while-it-grows jam followed, got funkified and then dripped into the intro of one of their most magnificent crowd-satisfiers, heating up the atmosphere by an incalculable degree while doing so. When "VL Tone," which sounds like the theme song to some kind of awesomely cheesy '80s TV show about robots that become self-aware, fully opened up, every creature stirred or spun or jumped or all of the above. "VL" had a tangible electrical current that traveled from the speakers, through the dance floor, and, with each surging "bah-dum-dum-chaah" blast, up through the spine, inciting a veritable frenzy before heading into set break.

The jam leading into "Glide" had a distinctively cosmic overtone to it, and Shields' epic riff on keys paved the way for the next movement as it evolved subtly after the breakdown, which almost came to a complete halt. Teasing crash cymbals and the slow onset of the bass had us feasting on anticipation, and then, kerplunk! The structure of "Glide" moved just as the title implies, in a smooth, omni-rotational, uninterrupted flow, absorbing the bumps and jolts along the way as more fuel for the cruise. Stripped down to its bare bones for a short interim, beefed up and reenergized, its return to prominence was just a tad sweeter than the first time, though equally as smooth. "Back to the Middle" brought things back to chaotic once again, like a dance club housed in the confines of a dirty steel factory, complete with random machines and pistons shooting off from every direction and yet fitting perfectly into sequence.

The New Deal
Thought there'd been shouts for it all night, this band has rarely played to expectations, which made the "Technobeam" encore all the more rewarding. It wasn't long before the still-hungry crowd got to moving for the final transmission as it constructed itself around the piercing chime of keys and grounding bass work, then took a dip into the nether regions. Getting eerie for just the right amount of time, the reprise bounced back once more, crystalline as ever, then accelerated gradually up to the very last note with momentum to carry one into body-rockin' bedlam.

Their selective appearances today only make it a more gratifying treat that you may have to wait a bit longer or travel a bit further to enjoy. But, the explosive energy, active, positive environment and unequaled distinction of sound that characterize The New Deal are elements that have far from diminished. They are now, as they always have been and will continue to be, not only a musical stethoscope, but a defibrillator as well, reviving, shocking and giving life to their listeners.

The New Deal tour dates available here.

JamBase | Charged Up
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 2/25/09]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



NickBoeka starstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 12:54PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Jamie "Guitar" Shields can rip the skin off your face with his lead lines....these guys are and have always been one of the best livetronica acts out there, and they've been doing it for over 10 years....

I just wished they toured more....cause 20 shows a year is not touring...

djdaddyp starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 01:08PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The New Deal are so great, where have these guys been? I didn't read the article but I always thought there has been an absence of New Deal. Saw them open for Trey in Nashville 4 years ago. It was electric.

louie1827 starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 02:11PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

tND was on fire in burlington and NoHo, wish i made it to this show. so goddamn sick!

futhepharmer Wed 2/25/2009 02:13PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Now THIS is livetronica at it's ultimate best.

Nothing gets your knees kicking up higher than The New Deal!

If you can sit still while these guys are playing, you've done way too many drugs!

alienscape starstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 02:14PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

tND = chonkyfire..... they do need to tour more!!!!

jacoyle1 Wed 2/25/2009 03:14PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

yes !!! I love the new deal ! They rage so hard

I get to see them for my first time in ashevile, sooooooooo pumped

Henrock starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 03:45PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I saw them the night after at Higher Ground and they were sick! Too bad JB had to cover the New York show instead, they always bring the heat to Burlington

RambleOnShelbyRose starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 05:27PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


great show.

happydestiny starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 06:09PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I have been way into these guys for several years now and have never had the opportunity to see them live. PLEASE PLAY ROTHBURY!!!! Great review made me put them on my stereo right now

dojajam Wed 2/25/2009 07:17PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Nobody brings the heat like you guys do. Please bring your dance party beats to Rothbury!!!!!!!!!

OBPhunkE starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/25/2009 07:23PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I agree rothbury would be SAWEEET!! or just follow what dude up there said and tour more

musicscool starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 12:23AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This show was off the hook!! WELL worth driving from Upstate through that crazy ass snow storm. The New Deal OWNS!

johnnygoff starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 12:42AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


@ camp bisco III or IV in Van Etten, (when lax press passes in the jam scene were as refreshingly common as a $6 festy gyro and jambase show review writers were still treated with media credential respect,) i was on a local press-pass (corning, ny newspaper) and caught the new deal, from a lone backstage perspective on a 4 hour rampage from 1-5 after they had driven straight through from Toronto to lonely and super intimate Van Etten, NY. The majority of peeps didnt really knew Darren Shearer or his L.Ron Hubbard inspired beliefs or anything about this bands 'deal'. All we know is that The New Deal, like the soulive of trance/breakbeat/synth, bearing just 3 canucks, could do, what The New Deal does. From beat boxing and high hats to bass beats and some super slippery synth keyboards, The New Deal is the Raw Deal. no back label needed. I am a believer of the power or 3.

Billis starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 07:07AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


These guys are hands down the tightest and most energetic trio/jamtronica group around! Pearl St. was on fire!

n-1 Thu 2/26/2009 07:21AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

wish these boys would play in the city to the south of here

GeorgieP Thu 2/26/2009 08:15AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Alex my man, I'm also a Brooklynite myself. The New Deal is playing Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 1. It should be a tight show.

rainydaywomen420 Thu 2/26/2009 12:03PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


come back home to buffalo

soulink starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 02:10PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Come back to SF!!!

jcolb16 Thu 2/26/2009 03:04PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


no one can hate on the new deal because as everyone knows, the new deal is unreal live and always is a party. best electronica act from the band perspective. plus jamie shields makes everyone else look like a chump.

Skitterbrain starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/26/2009 05:55PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I love how every other livetronica band no matter how hardcore their fans (lotus, tribe, bisco, particle, whatever) attracts mad hate except tND. And those other bands are playing a billion shows a year with crazy promotions and six interviews a week on every jam website/magazine around. tND is an unstoppable force, the fact that they don't just take the scene over perplexes me.

happydestiny starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 02:58AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


jcolb.... I have the show from woosta where the drummer darren (the primary talking guy during sets) says jamie makes him and dan (bassist) look like a couple of chumps. good quote from what is as far as i am concerned one of their best shows as well as one of the most downloaded on . check out d2T4 and d2T5 from that show in worchester MA you won't be dissappointed!!!! big ups to the new deal. right, right,right, Right On!

happydestiny starstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 03:08AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Heres the link to a truley epic new deal show...

happydestiny starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 03:30AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Sorry to comment so much.. If you dig these guys check out a 'the join' show from j-tree. its tND - (minus) dan on Bass with D. murph from STS9 subbing in, its some hot shit and the only incarnation of the new deal i have ever caught live(a few days before in cali, not at j-tree, but this seems like the highlite of the run!)... also on keep your bodies movin ya'll

spaceface7 starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/27/2009 09:11AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

INVOLENTARY JUMPING!!!! these guys should play rothbury...the same time as bisco played last year. that would get everyone started on the right foot!

WidespreadPhanic Sat 2/28/2009 03:51PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


this would be a great rothbury act, maybe in the tripolee domes!? OoOOOOOoOoo

ethan6 Tue 3/3/2009 02:08PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


saw these dudes in Burlington. loved every minute !

rymoriarty Tue 3/3/2009 05:05PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

manbearpig- i was at that show and it was definitely amazing. I've seen them about ten times and that worcester show was by far the greatest I've heard. You can hear my brother yell "receiver" on the recording right before they play it. tND used to throw down real hard at BerkFest, too.