the devil makes three @ cat’s cradle

the devil makes three @ cat's cradle

I didn’t know that a bluegrass band from Santa Cruz, California — a pretty traditional three piece bluegrass band, albeit a really great one — could inspire such punk show mosh pit heights, but the Devil Makes Three did it last night. It’s a tribute to them, on most hands; their rocking, uptempo, hook-filled songs and Lucia Turino’s flat-out badass upright bass playing really, really move a crowd, but on the downside — and this is all on the audience, not the band, let me make that clear — last night’s audience wasn’t just wild, they were rude, and they were dangerous. No one should be throwing bottles at a roots rock show. The Devil Makes Three shouldn’t need a barrier and extra security if Gaslight Anthem doesn’t need a barrier and extra security, and yet.

Carrboro audience, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Love a band all you want; the Devil Makes Three sure as hell deserves your adoration, and it’s been great in the three years I’ve been seeing them to watch their crowds get bigger and more tuned in. But don’t behave so poorly, with such a lack of respect for the band and the people around you. Judge a crowd. Judge a show. Don’t throw beer, don’t purposefully hit people, and don’t be dumbfucks. Christ.

the devil makes three @ cat's cradle

That said, the Devil Makes Three blew the damn doors off the Cradle last night, in fine fashion. They’re supporting a live record right now, and the record is great, but their actual live show is better. High-octane is the best way to describe it; they would be a great tour partner for the Dropkick Murphys and the fact that they play bluegrass wouldn’t be a lick out of place on that tour. (It would be loads of fun, too.) They are a delight, and it delights me to see their music, which they’ve worked very long and hard at, start to really pay off.

And, frankly, Lucia is the most talented, most bangin’ lady bass player in the world.

phillip roebuck @ cat's cradle

Phillip Roebuck, a frequent touring partner of TDM3, opened; he plays folk-punk one-man-ragtime type banjo music; he’s a fantastic songwriter and great fun to shoot, and I’m always glad when he comes to town with TDM3.

I will pay someone $50 to watch Roebuck and Durham’s Curtis Eller play Dueling Banjos.

Full set is here.

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chatham county line electric holiday show @ haw river ballroom

chatham county line electric holiday show @ haw river ballroom

chatham county line electric holiday show @ haw river ballroom

johnny irion @ haw river ballroom

chatham county line electric holiday show @ haw river ballroom

chatham county line electric holiday show @ haw river ballroom

So lovely — warm and fun and full of singalongs, this was the first of CCL’s annual Electric Holiday Show that I have been to, but I will not miss another one.

Full set is here.

shakori hills grassroots festival spring 2012

shakori hills spring 2012: holy ghost tent revival

Muchas gracias to Grant and the Bottom String (although to be fair, Grant pretty much is the Bottom String) for once again allowing me to scoot into the hippie zydeco-jam-band-roots-rock paradise that is Shakori Hills without paying for my ticket; I was out Thursday and Saturday (Sunday’s monsoon precluded my desire to stand in a field, knee deep in mud, and see Lydia Loveless, alas) and the full set is here.

Live music on beautiful spring nights is pure joy.

shakori hills spring 2012: donna the buffalo

shakori hills spring 2012: deep chatham

shakori hills spring 2012: elephant revival

shakori hills spring 2012: red clay ramblers

shakori hills spring 2012: curtis eller

frontier ruckus @ local 506

frontier ruckus @ local 506

frontier ruckus @ local 506

Up front, I gotta say, what this show did was make me salivate for Frontier Ruckus’s new album. Last fall, Matthew Milia told me that their follow-up to Deadmalls & Nightfalls was going to be even more dense and complex, and it is, based on the new songs that they played last night, but it’s also lighter and more full of space, wide open moon nights and love songs about fictional love triangles and hope. They’re one of the best live bands out there, Milia’s strange plaintive voice and the musicianship of his surrounding band, especially banjo player Davey Jones and jack-of-all-trumpets Zach. It was a small but rapt crowd, and the band played straight to them. As always with the Ruckus, it was intimate and note perfect. Lovely, lovely.

hoots & hellmouth @ local 506

hoots & hellmouth @ local 506

Philadelphia’s Hoots & Hellmouth opened; they are without a doubt one of my favorite bands who almost never ever ever plays convenient North Carolina dates. (Almost because they played Raleigh last year.) They have stomp boxes and Rob is playing all these complex organ and piano lines under Sean Hoots’ increasingly complex songwriting — Sean has always been the master of a lyric, but they’re getting more shudderingly sad and startling. It was beyond a pleasure to see them again and get to hang out a little after their set; they are one of the best little known bands out there and you should try to hit one of these FR/H&H tour dates, for sure.

Full set is here.

the devil makes three @ cat’s cradle

the devil makes three @ cat's cradle

the devil makes three @ cat's cradle

After two shows, the Devil Makes Three are rapidly becoming one of my favorite bands to see live; I like their studio stuff, but their stage presence — unassuming until WHAM! they start really rocking — is a huge part of why they’re so great live. The harmonies, the thumping bass, the way they all three seem to love what they’re doing. It makes it a pleasure to see them, and last night’s high energy, sing-along show was no exception.

the devil makes three @ cat's cradle

the devil makes three @ cat's cradle

phillip roebuck @ cat's cradle

They’re currently on the road with Flogging Molly, a pairing I’d have never thought of but which makes a weird kind of delicious sense, but their stop last night was a headlining tour with Phillip Roebuck, a one man garage punk banjo band. Basically he makes insane country art rock through a banjo and a pedal board that most indie musicians would kill for, and if he’s never toured with Curtis Eller he needs to, and they can call it Two Men With Two Banjos Doing Insane Banjo Things. They could maybe invite Two Man Gentleman Band along.

Full set here.

some army 7″ release show @ local 506

some army @ local 506

fan modine @ local 506

prypyat @ local 506

Some Army plays rattling, shining indie rock with clever lyrics and shimmering harmonies. Fan Modine makes some of the most melodic, danceable garage rock I’ve ever heard. And Prypyat plays songs that wouldn’t be out of place being done by Duncan Webster’s hard rocking Hammer No More The Fingers, except that he and Leah Gibson have orchestrated them into strange, whimsical, otherworldly acoustic folk songs. They don’t have much musically in common, except where they do; and that, that is the joy and glory of the Triangle, that these musically disparate bands can play a completely cohesive bill, and that musicians and fans who play similar music, and disparate music, and love all of it, will turn out to see them.

Last night I probably knew 75% of the people in the 506, and the funny thing was, all the people I knew and saw and hugged and caught up with, I wouldn’t have put them all in the same room together in my head. But they were there, and I love them, and they love our scene, and that is why the whole evening was magical.

You can get a digital version of the Some Army 7″ here. And look at all the photos from last night here.