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Kevin Devine – The Bowery Ballroom – April 24, 2009

April 27th, 2009

Kevin Devine - The Bowery Ballroom - April 24, 2009Just over a year ago, Kevin Devine headlined his first show at The Bowery Ballroom with a long, emotion-filled set. And just a handful of shows there later, he has become something of a regular: His shows sell out (and fast), his family attends and those in the crowd always check their distractions at the door so they can offer their total attention to one of New York City’s newest musical sons.

Unlike that first show in January of last year (which featured more pin-drop moments than most New York City shows will ever see), Devine’s performance on Friday highlighted his backing group, the Goddamn Band. The night served as the official CD-release show for his newest album, Brother’s Blood, which even Devine admitted during the set relies heavily on his band.

Devine and the Goddamn Band ruled the stage for almost two hours, playing much of the new album, due out tomorrow, including the eerie spine-tingler “Carnival” and the ultracatchy pop of “I Could Be with Anyone.” Devine’s shouts and screams were a perfect complement to Mike Strandberg’s brilliant lead guitar, Brian Bonz’s vocals (he also served as the opener), Russell Smith’s guitar, and bassist Chris Bracco and drummer Mike Skinner’s pressing rhythms.

The intense and bombastic points in the set (capped by the heart-wrenching growl of the title track, “Brother’s Blood”) were wonderful, but the night was special because of those pin-drop moments, as fleeting as they were. Devine finished the night with “Ballgame,” a performance that sucked the crowd’s breath out of its collective lungs, leaving the room so silent not even the clinking of glasses rang out from the bars in the back. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com