>Kevin Devine at the Space in Hamden, Connecticut.Posted: December 19, 2010
I discovered Kevin Devine recently, within the past couple of years or so, and found him to be one of the few worthy, and entertaining alternatives to Elliot Smith in my music library. He’s not another Elliot Smith, but the atmosphere that his songwriting encompasses fits the mood perfectly. It might be partially because I grew up on Long Island, but I know a lot of Kevin Devine fans, if you listen to him, you fall for his clever wordplay and pop-tinged, well constructed instrumental structures. I listened to him every once in a while over the past, but yesterday changed everything for me.
I went to go see a friend who had just returned from college in the early afternoon yesterday, and as we vibed outside in the chilled December sun, he told me that I might be able to join him, and a few other guys on a trip to Connecticut to see Kevin at the Space, in Hamden. I’ve never seen him live, I intended to last year at Bamboozle. but it just didn’t happen. I knew immediately this was something I’d have to do.
Seeing Kevin Devine live is something anyone who is a fan of the singer-songwriter spectrum of musicians should participate in at some point in their lives. The experience isn’t the typical show. It’s like sitting in a living room at a small house party, with a group of friends, and watching one of your closest friends sit down with a guitar and belt out some of the most hard-hitting, true, and wonderful songs you’ll come across in the contemporary world of music. Devine has a unique ability to connect with everyone watching him in a rare kind of way. Even as he forgot his own lyrics several times, it didn’t seem like a mistake, it flowed like is was supposed to happen, a part of the show, he’d just continue to play guitar and wait for a fan to yell to him which words come next, after which he’d just keep going. He played through his entire Make the Clocks Move album, as well as a impromptu Dancing Queen cover after a fan suggestion, which led to a sing-a-long in which the entire crowd participated. There was a Built to Spill cover, a Liz Phair cover, and what almost became a Tenacious D cover.
Kevin Devine has changed the way I see the singer-songwriter-to-fan relationship. He is a true showman, an amazing artist tinged with poetic imagery (“the sky was murder red and the treets were headstone gray, a flaming ferris wheel spun where the sun used to be I watched its buckets dip and dance, I saw a couple making love lock hands”), and pure lyrical mastery, as well as an ability to drag anyone into the hums of his guitar. Basically, see Kevin Devine.
Kevin Devine live in Chicago.
The Liz Phair song Devine covered last night at The Space.