Montreal, February 2nd
A little more than a year has passed since The Devil Makes Three last strode into town, and the city was eager to welcome then back. Playing at a slightly smaller venue than their last escapade, but to a packed house of folks from all walks of life. On the upper tier, some older fans sat and watched while a much more rambunctious punk youth squad moshed and crowd surfed below in front of the stage – much to baffled looks from the upper echelon whom seemed both bewildered and delighted by both the onstage and offstage entertainment. I suppose for many, this would have been an introduction to the violent world of dance that comes so naturally to several musical subcultures.
Last January, a small riot took place outside the Mtelus venue when an overly intoxicated concert goer attempted to leave the venue with a beer in hand, and his unwillingness to turn in said beverage resulted in a scuffle with security. Others joined in and before you could say “well fancy that”, police officers were on seen, doussing people down with pepper spray and transporting the newly blind for a visit of their precinct. This time around saw less argie bargie, but at least two persons were ejected from the club for an altercation that again involved beer. A gentleman had left his women at the front of the stage and gone off on a mission to replenish beverages and quench their thirst. However, his now vacated spot had been usurped by an opportunistic who didn’t see why he should surrender his newly gained ground back to its previous owner. Somehow, words were said above the sound levels of the performing band. Before he could blink, the fellow carrying the newly acquired drinks, one in each hand, was sucked punched in the nose and again in the eye. He fell to the ground, nose bloodied and beers sadly wasted, as security arrived to whisk the assailant away and out the door. I wonder if these Californian olde timey Bluegrassers experience this sort of crowd behaviour in other cities or if it is reserved for the rowdy folks on our beloved Montreal.
Opening the evening, was local act Bucky Harris, who announced midway through their set that they had changed their music to better suit the evening. That these renditions of their songs were much slower than usual and were being played acoustically rather than the usual punk rock style they normally dish out. I imagined folk who may have picked up one of their two albums at the merch stand, expecting a nice old timey hoedown emerging from their home stereo now wondering what the hell they’d gotten themselves into. Perhaps Bucky Harris should seriously consider releasing an album of country and bluegrass tracks, because they sounded fantastically on this evening. Something for them to consider at the least.
After a brief interval, the band all had come to see took the stage. At first, the main trio of Pete Bernhard, Lusic Turino and Cooper McBean (Is that not the greatest name you’ve ever heard?) appeared and played three tracks before the rest of the group, the session folk I suppose, emerged from the shadows of the side stage and the quintet banged out a brilliant set. They began with “The Bullet”, “All Hail” and “Beneath the Piano” and played “There’ll Be A Jubilee” as a full band. The Devil Makes Three were on this evening, looked good, sounded great, and the packed house echoed their performance as they sang along with the band. They played two more tracks, “Gracefully Facedown” and “Spinning Like A Top” before playing the first of four tracks off of their newest record, “Chains Are Broken” – which is well worth picking up if you’re wisely planning to attend one of the remaining gigs on this tour run. They played a Peggy Lee cover as well as a fantastic rendition of a Tom Waits track, and my personal favorite “Old Number 7”. The Devil Makes Three are always a treat to witness on stage, and I hope they keep to their word and return to town in the very near future.
The group have a fistful of shows left to play on this tour, before heading over to Ireland, the UK and off into Europe. Two shows in South Burlington on the 11th and 12th, Philadelphia on the 14th, New York on the 15th and Boston on the 16th. You’ll have to find a scalper for the two South Burlington gigs as they are both sold out, but there are tickets available for the three final dates still. Get on them quick!