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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Night: Devil Makes Three at the Independent

Posted By on Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 12:48 PM

click to enlarge Trampled By Turtles - JOSEPH SCHELL
  • Joseph Schell
  • Trampled By Turtles
Devil Makes Three
The Independent
Friday, Jan. 22, 2010

Better Than:
doing wrong, right.

If members of the Devil Makes Three really did sell their souls in exchange for musical talent, it's clear they made a worthy trade. The Santa Cruz-based trio, whose country/bluegrass music one crowd member declared is "so good, it's religious," played a lengthy, debauchery-inducing set to a sold-out audience at the Independent last night that could have seduced the devil out of a nun.

Although the band's lyrics may preach depravity, the quality of the music is anything but dirty. After four albums and a stellar previous year playing to sold-out audiences all over the country, this is a band that has their crowd-pleasing set down cold. That can, at times, make the show feel a bit canned -- last night, the group flew through their songs with an almost mechanical professionalism. But it wouldn't be surprising if they're trying to save a little energy as they have another sold-out show to play tonight at the Independent. Some of their tunes are so frantic that they're tiring just to listen to, let alone play.

click to enlarge Trampled By Turtles - JOSEPH SCHELL
  • Joseph Schell
  • Trampled By Turtles
What sets Devil Makes Three apart from their similarly bluegrass flavored openers, an impressive foot-stomping quintet called Trampled By Turtles, is their attention to melody and lyrics. Many of their songs incorporate impressive instrumental breakdowns that highlight each band member's musical talents on banjo, guitar, and bass. Songs in last night's set ran the gamut from raucous ("St. James Infirmary") to upbeat ("Bullet") to haunting ("Graveyard"). But nearly all of them target the same subjects: booze, religion, doing wrong, and more booze.
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Anna McCarthy


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