REVIEW: KEVIN DEVINE AND THE GODDAMN BAND- 03/02/17

Music

Brooklynite singer/songwriter Kevin Devine brought his fireball of energy in the form of the Goddamn Band to our shores last month on an EU/UK tour following the release of his ninth (yes, ninth) studio album Instigator. I caught the powerhouse trio in at Bodega in Nottingham and was so blown away that I had to see them again. So I headed to London the following day. Says it all really.

Kevin is no stranger to the UK, especially since signing to Oxford based indie label Big Scary Monsters back in 2009. He even told a comical story on stage (which he often does, as well as being an insanely talented musician he is also a great story teller, often making the crowd laugh with his touring anecdotes in between songs) which told of his first time playing a show in London; a support slot for a Norwegian metal band in a venue above a small pub. Over a decade later, here he is playing a headline show at the prestigious Dome venue in London to a packed room full of dedicated fans from all across the country. He says himself that his success was never a fluke. It never peaked after one sudden spurt of interest. It’s just been slowly on the rise since he started pursuing his music, and the current height of his *mental* growth chart could be mapped by the sheer volume of people singing their hearts out along with him at this headline show.

Kevin and his fellow bandmates, bassist Andy Prince and drummer Damon Cox, were joined on their 16 date tour by Laura Stevenson, a fellow native New Yorker slash singer-songwriter with a heavy folk influence, as well as acoustic melancholic folk-rock The Lion and The Wolf for the UK dates. With me not being a seasoned Londoner of course I got lost and ended up missing the first support, but I raced my way to the venue in time for an overpriced cider and the start of Laura Stevenson’s set. A mix of slow, intimate finger-picking songs such as ‘Nervous Rex’ and ‘The Hole’ and the contrasting upbeat folk-y speedy tempo tunes like ‘Barnacles’ and ‘Jellyfish’ liven up the crowd and keep the energy up after the previous peaceful set from TLATW. Nearing the end of her time on stage, Stevenson was joined by man of the hour Kevin Devine and the two joined forces on two songs, one being a song by Courtney Barnett.

It was soon time for the main event, and the crowd was ready. Standing near the front, I saw familiar faces from previous KD shows (unsurprising, as Kevin Devine fans are known to be some of the most loyal out there). A solo Devine walks on stage, guitar in hand, and opens the night with fan favourite ‘Ballgame’. A raw and emotional song, which touches upon alcohol abuse: “And when you realize it’s a pattern and not a phase, It’s what you’ve become and it’s what you will stay, That’s ballgame”.

It was special. It was unique. Not many artists will choose to open up a show with a slow song but it worked. And it was a lovely introduction to the evening. The band joined Kevin on stage and got stuck in straight away, powering in to ‘Just Stay’ and ‘She Can See Me’- electric songs with heaps of on stage energy from the trio. From then on, the trio just keep them coming, hardly taking a breath in between songs. Debuting tracks from the new album,  of course the crowd already knew the words. That’s Kevin fans for you. Oldies like ‘Private First Class’ and ‘I Could Be With Anyone’ are met with intense noise from the crowd, all with huge smiles on their faces. As intense as the lyrics and aggressive the sound, the crowd are ecstatic and the whole room is radiating positivity- an after effect of every KD show I’ve ever been to.

Nearing the end of the night the rhythm section, presumably exhausted, leave the stage and Kevin stays to finish off their set with an encore of compelling acoustic tracks. An iconic song in the KD fandom, ‘Brothers Blood’, leaves the crowd silent. Awestruck. He ignores the mic for sections in the song and shouts into the audience, making it all the more personal. A true highlight of the night. Closing the show with a solo version of ‘I Was Alive Back Then’ from new record Instigator, the uplifting lyrics (which touch upon the birth of Devine’s baby daughter) radiate the same level of joy felt by the audience, leaving everyone in high spirits for their commute home.

The talent of Kevin Devine almost speaks for itself, with nine studio albums and sold out shows all around the world, it can be truly witnessed and agreed upon in person. Next time KD comes overseas (soon, please) I urge everyone to make it to a show. Even if you’re unfamiliar with his work, you are sure to be entertained and leave with a spring in your step.

– Sarah Lusher.

Who To Watch in 2015: Moose Blood

Music

A new calendar year marks new beginnings, new relationships and most importantly… new music! With 2014 being a huge year for British newcomers such as Neck Deep, Bury Tomorrow and many others, 2015 is expected to follow suit and bring some great up and coming British bands into the spotlight.

A band expected to make this year their own are 4-piece band emo band called Moose Blood from Canterbury. A recent sign to No Sleep Records, a label that boasts bands like Balance and Composure and Manchester Orchestra, Moose Blood’s sound can be described as an incorporation of the spirit of emo rock and pace of pop-punk, tied together with meaningful and relatable lyrics making their music especially popular amongst young people.

The band got to work in 2013 and released two EP’s: ‘Moving Home’ and ‘Boston/Orlando’. These were well received by fans, who described their sound to be ‘spell like’ and that they ‘couldn’t stop listening’. After touring extensively with bands such as Gnarwolves, Major League and more recently Mallory Knox, Moose Blood certainly got their sound out to the masses. Their debut full-length album, ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’, was released in October 2014 and has already made an impact on the music scene. Barely even a month after the album’s release, Moose Blood announced their first UK headline tour, with their Manchester and Nottingham dates selling out weeks before the tour was due to start (January 15th).

If you didn’t get a ticket for their show at Bodega in Nottingham for later this month, don’t panic. Moose Blood will be back on the touring circuit soon so keep an eye out, especially during the festival period. Be sure to check them out and give them a listen.

For fans of: Basement, Modern Baseball, and Seahaven.

www.mooseblood.bandcamp.com

www.mooseblood.bigcartel.com

www.facebook.com/mooseblood

www.twitter.com/mooseblooduk

– Sarah Lusher.

First Review

Music

After recently landing a spot to work on Platform magazine I figured I would start my new blog off with my most recent submission: three songs that have been stuck in my head!

 1) Marmozets- Hit The Wave 

This 5-piece math-core band from Bingley, Yorkshire is a family force to be reckoned with. Made up of two sets of siblings, Marmozets are one of the UK’s most exciting new bands, with their debut album ‘The Weird and Wonderful  Marmozets’ peaking at number 3 in the UK rock charts. Hit The Wave is definitely a contender for best song off the album. Starting slow and melodic giving front woman Becca McIntyre a chance to show off her stunning vocals, the song then fully kicks in with heavy guitars and a catchy chorus you’ll find yourself singing all day. This song is electric, especially live as witnessed at their sold out show headlining Rock City last month. The closing line of the song, ‘so take this life and make it something’ might just be a personal aim for the band and, judging by their success, I’d say they’re doing just that.

 2) Decade- British Weather

With their ironically titled debut album, Good Luck, Decade (a 5-piece alt-band from Bath) have finally been met with, well, good luck! Although this band may not be instantly recognizable to you, I’m sure you’ve come across them on their extensive touring circuit supporting impressive bands such as Tonight Alive and soon to be A Day To Remember this month. Good Luck is a pop-punk record filled with angsty lyrics, infectious choruses and head-banging riffs. Their first single, British Weather ties in all 3 qualities and proves why Decade are ready to go it alone. It’s a definite stand out track, with lead vocalist Alex Sears giving his all to an impressive chorus just begging to be sung back by a crowd of fans. Being the final song on the band’s set list, they’ve definitely saved the best for last.

 3) Lower Than Atlantis- Here We Go

Back on the scene after a much-needed break, the first single by alternative rock band Lower Than Atlantis, blasts them back into the limelight. This bass heavy anthem, complete with singer Mike Duce’s signature accent coming through in the vocals, reminds us why we all loved LTA. Starting off with pounding drums building up to the explosive chorus, Here We Go is energy filled track sure to get your fists in the air. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to burst out your room, punch a wall and overthrow a government… just me? The Watford based 4 piece are back in our sights headlining Rocksound’s Christmas Ball in London on December 4th and I urge you to catch them. With a new self-titled album reaching 16 in the Top 20 UK album charts, Lower Than Atlantis are well and truly back.

– Sarah Lusher.