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Tuesday, May 3

Review and Photos: Devil Makes Three - 4/28/11 - Slim's - SF, CA

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Tickets to the SF show of Devil Makes Three's sold out tour were much hotter than we had imagined, with a huge line of hopefuls outside Slims snapping up offers of four times the face value. The highly anticipated show did not let down, and this band seems to be gaining serious steam!
Brown Bird opened for Devil Makes Three with a very gypsy bluegrass vibe. The duo came on strong and moody with lots of fast string work. The vocals were hard to hear clearly, probably due to the poor acoustics at Slims in SF. The thumping rhythms were definitely made to dance to, similar to Devil Makes Three. The lead singer and guitarist was quite a talent as he simultaneously played bass drum and wood block with his feet, laying the foundation for the winding accompanying string instruments. The two piece band had a surprisingly full sound, and then added a third violin player and started building a great soundtrack quality jam in the middle of their set. They stretched themselves far beyond traditional bluegrass sounds, leaving the crowd buzzing and impressed!
We wish Devil Makes Three had booked a larger venue for multiple reasons; firstly we think they underestimated their demand! Also the jubilant drunken crowd soon felt the extreme squeeze of the overpacked room, as quite a few unruly moshes and a few fistfights broke out. We struggled to stay afloat at the front of the stage, and the pushing and shoving seemed rooted in the tight squeeze more than the bands energy, although they do have a punkish side to their antique bluegrass sound. I think with more space one would witness much more dancing and twirling to the fast paced music with great ringing vocals from frontman Pete Bernhard.
The band had almost no visual elements to their performance, perhaps fitting to their acoustic bluegrass genre, but I would have liked to seen more happening on stage other than the three members remaining posted behind their mics underneath dim lighting. They almost seemed worried to provoke the wild crowd further, but the audience clearly enjoyed themselves and the show. They bounced and sang along boisterously to every song off of the latest Do Wrong Right album.
 The band also played some new tunes, which will be included on an upcoming live album. These were synonymous with their established sound, but ventured beyond them melodically. It was very difficult to catch the lyrics amongst the chaos, unfortunately so, since Pete's writing, which ranges from humorous to preaching ideals, is a huge strength of this band. Cooper McBean played guitar and tenor banjo and filled out the sound of the band. All three members harmonize extremely well. The one song that bassist Lucia Turino sang vocals for was met with whooping and cheering - she has a great voice that I think everyone would like to hear more of, and the sound of an upright bass trumps electric any day in my book.
Words: Ashley Martino
Photos: Kelsey Winterkorn