Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band – The Sinclair 4/16 – Opening for Murder By Death
By Evan Frye
Disclaimer: Even though Murder By Death was the headliner, this review is going to focus on Kevin Devine’s opening set. Murder By Death will be addressed briefly after, but I was there for Kevin Devine and his Goddamn Band.
This was the 10th time I’ve seen Kevin Devine perform live. I’m what you might call a superfan of sorts. I listen to every word he sings like it’s the Gospel According to Kevin (a great album title, by the way). Saturday at The Sinclair was no different, despite him being the opening act.
The show was long since sold out, and full of Murder By Death fans. Devine and Goddamn Co. took the stage and some moron in the crowd shouted, “Who are you?” Devine, always the gentleman replied, “We’re Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, who are you?” He then launched into his set.
The set was a mixture of both new and old material. The newest ones being “Little Bulldozer,” “She Can See Me,” and an awesome rendition of “Redbird” from the 2013 album Bubblegum. They also played two songs from Brother’s Blood, “I Could Be With Anyone,” and the title track.
The Goddamn Band was a stripped down version at this show, with Devine on vocals and guitar, a drummer, and a bassist. But this three-man formation really allowed Devine to show off his dexterity on the guitar. I’ve seen them play before with a larger band that has another guitarist doing a lot of the heavy guitar playing. But with just Devine on guitar, the crowd really got to hear just how good he is on his instrument. “Brother’s Blood” and all its guitar solo glory was truly a shinning example of Devine’s guitar skill.
Devine broke up the set with a little stage banter in between songs. He told a story about how his ex-girlfriend introduced him to another Kevin Devine at a bar and how Devine made Kevin 2.0 show him his I.D. as proof. And before playing the K-Dev classic, “Just Stay,” he talked about how the song was about a cocaine dealer who tried to tell Devine to stop buying coke from him. Devine said, “He was a really good guy, just not a good businessman.”
Despite Devine only playing the opening spot of the show, his 45-minute set was the highlight of the show for me personally. Maybe it’s because I’d only listened to a couple of Murder By Death songs in preparation for the show, but I just didn’t get it. All the instruments were in the same sonic range, and fuzzy. The guitar bled into the cello, which bled into the keys, which bled into the guitar, and so on and so forth. Not a single sound was distinct and articulate. Even singer Adam Turla’s vocals just mixed in with the fuzz. The sound was overpowering and unpleasant, at least to me. The people in the audience there to see Murder By Death loved it, so maybe I’m just missing something.
Even though he was opening, I was glad to see Kevin Devine play again. His shows are always energetic and intense. Jumping around the stage while shredding on his guitar, Devine brings an excitement to his live show that is fun and never gets old. I can’t wait until the 11th time I see him perform.