The Devil Makes Three – Live in London ***** – Review

Thanks for making this the best gig of our tour” exclaims frontman Pete Bernhard to the rapturous and raucous crowd at Islington’s Assembly Hall. Americana gigs don’t normally attract this much crowd response, let alone the crowd surfing that was going on towards the end of the set.

An entertaining set from Essex boy Jay McAlister aka Beans On Toast, largely focussed around the “f” word, booze and drugs, livened up the near capacity crowd. The Devils came on stage to a huge reception, a long way since they played their first London gig above a pub several years ago.

The Devil Makes Three are Pete Bernhard on guitar and lead vocals, Lucia Turino on double bass and vocals, Cooper McBean on banjo, electric guitar and vocals.

Touring to promote their latest album Chains Are Broken they kicked off with Bullet followed by an almost Johnny Cash sounding Hallelu and the crowd was off and running, or to be more precise, shouting and stomping.

Immediately the tone was set for the evening, hi octane, mainly fast tempo bluegrass, country, folk and rockabilly which was energetically and brilliantly performed. Imagine the Punch Brothers on steroids.

Several tracks from the highly regarded new album made it into the set of 22 tracks, including Pray For Rain, Chains Are Broken and Need To Lose.

This was an evening full of foot-stomping, exhilarating, good time music. Of the many highlight tracks there was Slide with a guitar riff intro of awesome power from Bernhard.

One of the highlights of the evening was when banjo boy Cooper McBean took the lead on Gracefully Facedown which brought the house down with its country boogie. Lucia Turino then took her turn at lead vocals on Everybody Knows, a jazzier number.

Towards the end the giant disco ball began to turn, the trio finished with the fun Do Wrong Right and all three shared the vocals on the encore Bangor Mash.

Next time they come to town make sure you see them. These guys can play. You’ll have a good time.

Words by Chaz Brooks

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