Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Devil Makes Three - Brown Bird -- The Hamilton - Sep 19 2012

Brown Bird - Flying in from Rhode Island, is Brown Bird who feature a guy on acoustic guitar and vocals and a woman on stand-up bass, guitar, and violin. Oh, and the guitarist uses a kick drum on several songs. So basically, there are a lot of sounds here with a full-band feeling that these two create with their skillful playing. I was initially thinking that it would be the typical folk and singer songwriting that I have been hearing oh so much lately, as I catch up my album reviews for Folkworld. But thankfully, what starts as a nice folk duo takes some rather daring turns. Sure, they handle the basics well enough with their playing and especially their harmonies, but the guitar solos and string work go into interesting realms. They soar even more majestically as a guest violinist comes out on "Shiloh" which sounds like a full Boiled in Lead style multinational jam. They went over well enough, although I was stuck in the back bar area as there were a lot of tickets sold, so it was much noisier than in the main dining area. The 'Vegas' feel of this club with its zones is something to consider when coming here. But I will certainly want to see this duo again and they are headed back to DC later this year.
The Devil Makes Three - This alt-bluegrass trio, for lack of a real genre, makes familiar yet interesting music. It's very acoustic with guitars, banjos, and an upright bass and features two male and female voices harmonizing nicely. It's hip and very up tempo, yet I hear more of the Smothers Brothers than I do of Gogol Bordello. That may be due to the Vegas vibe at this club and Vegas is where I saw the brothers Smothers once many decades ago. That is not a knock, as this has a more extreme acoustic sound not present in many of the punk-folk-gypsy outfits these days, let alone the opening act tonight. The band has plenty of fans here and plays with such skill, that they can pull the 'neutrals' into their world by banging out song after song with their peculiar good time feel. It went over quite well and the club had cleared a dance floor up front which was used by many of the people that had been crowding around the bar. So all in all, this band knows how to bring it to the masses, which is quite a challenge when you are not amped up, electronically at least.

Quote of the Night: From the opening band guitarist... "The last time we were in DC we played in a room with five people, two of them were my parents."

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