The Devil Makes Three makes a lot of noise for a simple mix of banjo, stand-up bass and acoustic guitar. Did I mention there is no drummer? There is no need for one. The stomping feet from the sold-out crowd at the Bluebird on Saturday provided all the necessary percussion.
How to classify the sound? Is it ragtime or rockabilly? Is it bluegrass or rock? The answer is “yes.”
“We drove around in circles for years and didn’t know why,” band leader Pete Bernhard told the crowd on Saturday. “I just know the truth of the matter is, when we get here and get on the stage in front of you guys it’s gonna be great.”
Opening with “The Bullet,” the band quickly whipped the crowd into a hollering, shouting mess. Some knew all the words, some dressed the part, and some had never heard the band before but knew the buzz around them. However, the entire crowd pulled together around the three talented musicians on a freezing cold night in Colorado.
The band members spoke almost as fast as they ripped through “Beneath the Piano,” “All Hail,” “Johnson Family,” “Statesboro Blues” and “Uncle Harvey’s Plane.” But there were mellow moments as well, as the band slowed things down for “Tow” and settled into a groove for “This Life” before amping up the energy again for “For Good Again.”
After the set ended with “Do Wrong Right” and “Help Yourself,” the crowd was screaming for an encore. Thankfully the band obliged, and built up three more romping songs to a rendition of “Bangor Mash” that left the roaring crowd wanting for more.
John Fullbright opened the night with his one man show of acoustic guitar and harmonica. Well, that was until, as Fullbright described it, “We rocked that guitar to death just now” and he switched to an electric Telecaster. A standout “Satan & St. Paul” included the lyrics, “If only I could make it out to Denver, Colorado, I’d book it out of Satan and St. Paul.” Fullbright was a one man show with a strong voice and playing style that is just calling out for an expanded tour with a backing band.
Allen Klosowski is the social media strategist for The Denver Post. Check out his photos online.
Lisa Higginbotham is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.