Sometimes its nice to see a return to the unkempt and unabashed at a show. Nowadays, most shows are highly reverential, or at the very least, self aware with phones and seeing and being seen. But every once and a while someone will roll through town on a tour that propels those in attendance to behave in ways that might as well have been pulled from the honky tonk scene in Blue Brothers. Such is the scenario of The Devil Makes Three’s sold out show at Cannery Ballroom on February 4th.
Granted, there weren’t any glass bottles flying through chicken wire screens or people clamoring for “Rawhide,” but there was plenty of imbibing and jockeying for the best possible position to see The Devil Makes Three head into their marathon Nashville set. There was plenty – and I do mean plenty – of enthusiasm when Pete, Lucia, and Cooper took the Cannery stage. On that same kick, it took all of three songs for the crowd to work itself into a frenzy on “Gracefully Facedown” a song featuring the lyric “I’m having a hard time walking a straight line,” which proved to be wonderfully narrative for Cannery crowd.
From that point on, as the set progressed and crowd became increasingly inebriated and progressively more boisterous, The Devil Makes Three managed to maintain a hell of a tight set. “”Working Man’s Blues” and “Stranger” struck particular chords with the audience, as they brought the show into a full tilt Appalachian swing, people cavorting every which way, with reckless abandon and joy abound. Picking up on the activity of the crowd, Pete Bernhard suggested they “keep on swinging.” And swing they did.
After nine songs or so of top-notch Americana (or Ameripolitan?) music, something rather unique (and ultimately, unexpected) occurred during The Devil Makes Three’s set. As the band dove head first into “Beneath the Piano,” a large number of people in attendance began heading straight out to the door. But this relative exodus wasn’t for the reason you think, though. There wasn’t a single moment in which anything deplorable had been done or said by anyone in attendance. Instead, the reason people began making their way to the door was due to the ominous cloud of dust and what appeared to be smoke spreading throughout Cannery Ballroom.
Needless to say, the billowing smoke was reason for alarm, as rock clubs and music venues have a seedy history with such occurrences. Luckily, however, the smoke wasn’t smoke at all – it was a blown fire extinguisher. So, after some quick work thanks to the Cannery Ballroom staff, the mystery cloud had all but vanished, and people were back amongst the sweaty bodies and salty air listening to The Devil Makes Three. It should be noted that this entire time, The Devil Makes Three continued playing without missing a beat. Whether or not they even noticed the fire extinguisher dust remains to be seen.
It was a night full of excitement and songs of sailors bonnies, gypsy music, and Appalachian swing. Even with an unexpected obstacle presenting itself in the middle of The Devil Makes Three’s set, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t have a hell of a good time during the set.