The Bluebird Theatre was packed on Saturday night, the sold out Devil Makes Three show had people frantically searching for the scarce and coveted tickets. I even witnessed one poor fellow offering attendees one hundred dollars to go home and give up their ticket, but to no avail. It was quite a crew of dedicated fans, which would explain why the show had been sold out for weeks.
With a dimly and simply lit stage, you knew that the focus of the show is going to be on the making of the music. No need for the over-the-top stage production that characterizes so many of today’s shows because the stage presence that these three Santa Cruz natives brought when they came on was indubitable. They were reminiscent of an era of rock ‘n roll that has all but been swallowed by the dominion of dubstep. Listening their studio album doesn’t even begin to do them justice, you need to see them live to be able to fully appreciate the beauty of witnessing them make music.
All the tracks they performed were their original compositions; it was quite refreshing to hear a show void of covers. The trio consists of guitarist and front man Pete Bernhard, stand-up bassist Lucia Turino, and guitarist Cooper McBean. The three work together seamlessly to create a sound defined as a “slightly punky perspective on vintage American blues” (Devil Makes Three, Bio). Even though the show is entirely acoustic, you don’t get that low-energy feeling from their music. Their sound is simple, no soundboards or prerecorded beats, just the three of them, their instruments and an ecstatic crowd. When you’re watching them you want to stand up, stomp your feet and croon right along to chorus of “Old Number 7,” a poignant tune about the effectiveness of Jack Daniels. They also played favorites such as “The Johnson Family” off their album Do Wrong Right, “Graveyard,” “Tow,” and “This Life.” Though I hesitate to single only those tracks out when every song they played was consistently fantastic. How do you pick favorites when everything is so unfailingly spectacular? Even though the show ended around 12:30, I can confidently say that all attendees walked out happy to have gotten to witness such a classic American band redefine what it means to be an acoustic bluegrass rock band.