Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Devil Makes Three/Jonny Fritz; April 27, 2013; Majestic Theater

Everyone knows all of the good band names are taken, so explain to me how The Devil Makes Three was unclaimed before this trio from California grabbed it as their moniker. Of course, either the devil actually makes four in this case or one of them is in fact Satan (I’d go with upright bass player Lucia Torino who was awfully bewitching). Admittedly, a deal with Lucifer would go a long way toward explaining how this band I’d never heard of sold out the spacious Majestic Theater. I wouldn’t have even been there if not for James Dean, who has made tour manager into his full-time job. I first met Dean when he was doing the same for Ha Ha Tonka, who he had met when his band Meese was on the road with them. This has lead to multiple tours managing Murder By Death, as well as stints with Matt & Kim (when they were opening for Blink 182!) and White Rabbits.

The Onion described the band as a traditional bluegrass party band, and that was a decent call. There were a couple smoky, slower tunes, but most were frenetic banjo-powered raves with a thumping bass, making it very easy to dance to. The alcohol fueled crowd was doing just that, turning into an undulating mass in front of the stage after just a few songs. The songs were all catchy enough, but not much stuck with me after the house lights went up other than the clever chorus to one of their catchiest tunes, “If you’re gonna do wrong, buddy, you better do wrong right.” The crowd was a younger hippie type group, which explained all the dancing and the fact that everyone smelled like pot. They weren’t subtle about it either, little clouds of smoke went up periodically from the group in front of us. I was surprised that the security that won’t let me take pictures wasn’t on them immediately. Apparently having a camera with a “lens that sticks out too far” or “takes video” is a worse crime than smoking illegal substances. They didn’t hassle me tonight, but I found out that was only because Dean had stopped them.

Opener Jonny Fritz writes the kind of slightly offensive redneck songs that crowds like this love. I did not love it, but he did have something going for him and that was fiddler Josh Hedley. He didn’t look like your typical fiddle wizard, he had a lot of tattoos and a beer belly, his hat said “Born to fish, forced to work,” and his T-shirt depicted a cow flattened on the front of a semi with the caption “Grilled cheese,” but holy crap could that dude play. No matter how stupid the song, it got a lot better when he started playing. He even came back at the end of the night and joined Devil for a song. Dean told me he’s never had a real job, he’s just been playing fiddle for a living since he’s been old enough to get paid for it. And I believe it, I’m pretty sure he could win a fiddle made of gold off the devil anytime he runs short on cash.

Jonny Fritz

The Devil Makes Three

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