It’s no secret that Devil Makes Three has been one of the best kept secrets on the live music circuit, pretty much since their inception 12 years ago. Their performance here in Louisville, at The Mercury Ballroom Saturday night, served as reiteration of such a point.
The band consisting of Pete Bernhard (guitar), Lucia Turino (upright bass), and Cooper McBean (guitar/banjo) – have spent years on the road perfecting the intense subtly of American hill music – and then infusing it with anything that may strike their fancy. Their voices seem to have infused over the years, like fine bourbon in its barrel – slowly breathing in and out of each other to add color, flavor, and just a hint of spice.
The intimate space that is Mercury Ballroom was the perfect rooms to house such a show, letting the ensemble fill the room without getting lost in vacuous corners. The band was dressed in conservative hipster uniforms, vests, tight jeans, and neckties; with just a hint of tattoo creeping out from underneath their collars and sleeves. McBean, who recently shaved off his long trademark beard, has already scrapped the clean shaven look, for a thick tuft of ginger beard that is a far cry from its heyday.
The set centered mostly on songs from their phenomenal 2013 release, I’m a Stranger Here. And as per usual the band dug deep into their catalogue for a few select fan favorite tunes. The live space is where this band excels with high energy and absolute technical proficiency that does tend to get muffled in their studio releases. And that kind of energy and goodwill becomes contagious in a small room like that, which is why I was tired as they were by the time they walked off-stage.