The Devil Makes Three returned to the Bay Area to play at the majestic Fox Theater in Oakland. The band built on the shores of Santa Cruz found itself headlining a sold-out show at one of the biggest venues in the bay. Accompanied by Joe Pug, the night was sure to be an acoustic party like no other.
Pug took the stage with his blend of that “real music” fans have come to enjoy — a man with a guitar and an intricate and delicate, yet powerful set of true and wondrous music, proving that Texas still breeds fantastic singers and songwriters. It was wonderful to see Pug play and warm the filling-in crowd up for the shindig about to kick off with The Devil Makes Three. But don’t be fooled by Pug’s acoustic stylings at the start. Electric or acoustic, the band simply wails.
When the intermission broke and crowds usually thin for beer and bathroom, the opposite happened. Areas quickly filled in and the push towards the front began. After a quick stage change, the banners lit with a watchful eye and a red light bathed the stage. A discussion overheard was how to classify the music of The Devil Makes Three. It’s not quite bluegrass but not quite rock. It’s got twang with dance notes of waltz and genre-bending punk styles, reminiscent of old and new sounds. Someone jumped in o the conversation to offer “Pirate grass.” Everyone stopped and seemed to nod in agreement. The lights dropped, and the band took the stage to lead off with their latest hit “Stranger.”
The energy level of the band was equally matched by the crowd, constantly fueling each other and raising the show to new heights. Accompanied by a few other players from time to time added some thick and full jams to the trio’s long set. Then came the classic hits one after another, seamlessly woven together with kickoffs to rouse even the biggest fan with a surprise on what song was next. A familiar “Walk on Boy” had me giddy. No matter how many times I hear that song by so many different performers, I just love it. Fans got into such a dancing spirit that a mosh pit even formed in the front of the stage amongst all the dancing heads and people bouncing around. Needless to say, the band brought a sold-out show to its knees.
A double encore finished off the night with a bang, reminding us all once again that this trio kicks serious ass and wails like no other three-piece band can. The promise of a golden ticket hidden in a LP for free access to all DM3 shows for 2015 had even myself standing in line to freshen up my DM3 LP collection.
Sadly, I didn’t find the golden ticket, but the numerous replays of the LP over the following days, mixed with the lingering high from the show, was a golden ticket in and of itself. Being moved once again by bands you haven’t listened to in a while is like having a drink with an old friend you haven’t seen in years but still feels like yesterday. Both acts left me on a high for days after, and I will be sure not to miss Pug or The Devil Makes Three again.