The Devil Makes Three (DMT) played to a sold-out crowd on Friday night, headlining the Fox Theatre.
I arrived on the scene to a rain-soaked line stretching down 13th Street. Folky vagabonds and college students blended together, brewing hungry anticipation. Making my way into the building, I was directed into the Fox’s wide auditorium filled with the waiting rambunctious crowd. Turquoise lights shadowed through the haze as John Fullbright kicked off the night.
The Oklahoma native’s fusion of blues guitar picking, weaving harmonica solos and rich gospel singing, united the crowd with inspiration and passion. His intimate lyrics accentuated his skilled guitar licks. At times, though, the music needed a boost to fill out the Fox Theatre. Ending his set with shouts and praise, Fullbright thanked the crowd for a memorable first show in Boulder. Delivering a strong performance, Fullbright left plenty of room for DMT’s juxtaposition of choppy melodies.
Grabbing the lingering crowd by the ears, DMT entered to howls and trembling feet. Guitarist Cooper McBean approached the stage wielding his weathered guitar and massive orange beard. Front man/guitarist Pete Bernhard gave quick nods to the crowd while dressed to the nines in his classy vest and attire. Meanwhile, bassist Lucia Turino captivated the audience with her timeless figure and massive upright bass.
DMT opened with “Beneath the Piano,” off their 2007 self-titled EP. The song lead straight into classics “The Bullet” and “All Hail,” taking the venue by musical force before slowing down for Bernhard to say, “Good evening, Boulder, Colorado.”
DMT continuously teased the room. Every so often, the band gave into fan favorites while playing with conviction and ease. With no drummer, DMT has been known for shaking hips without any percussion section, clearly aided by the Fox Theatre sound crew and acoustics for being able to dial in their energy at each venue.
The trio’s songwriting, with catchy quips and ironic phrases, hit home the most throughout the performance. DMT’s three part harmonies bob between McBean and Bernhard’s fierce chop-and-pick approach. Turino is the lynch pin that effectively holds down the fort. Her traveling bass lines navigate DMT’s rockabilly, raw-grass sound away from an encompassing genre outbreak.
The show capped with a three-song encore, and DMT welcomed a stage hand to rip on a spare banjo. Punk kids moshed out of control in accordance with McBean’s swinging beard. The group powered through their final moments with a stern slaying of the banjo-heavy ballad “Bangor Mash.”
Exiting the stage, DMT bowed and waved to satisfied fans. The band’s display of stage rage and complementing harmonies gave clear evidence for why they consistently sell out venues and pump up heart rates.
Waiting for the masses to stream out, I stuck around the merchandise table and ended up catching McBean and Bernhard individually. McBean and I chatted about his upcoming shows and his ancient guitar. I asked him what he thought about coming back to Boulder.
“Boulder, Colo., disturbed my equilibrium and melted my face a little bit… and I look forward to doing it again,” McBean said.
My expectations for the band have been building for a number of years. Friday’s show decidedly crushed them into a beer can and recycled the remains for a better world. If you ever beat out diehard DMT fans and secure a ticket to one of their shows, be prepared to have your heart tingle while your body gets spun around. Even if a hippie pours beer down your shirt, it will be worth it.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kyle Ward at Kyle.firstname.lastname@example.org.