16 Dec A Goddamn Night To Remember
Last Friday, December 11, 2015, Punks & Recs took a field trip into Brooklyn for what was to be a really great night of live music. It was the first of a small string of shows celebrating the Devinyl Splits series from New York native, singer-songwriter, Kevin Devine.
Heading towards the venue, we had no idea what to expect as far as performances. It could have gone in an infinite amount of different directions. Was Kevin only going to play his splits with all of the other artists on the bill? Was the Goddamn Band going to join him on stage? Well, regardless of all our questioning, it ended up being a great and unique show that was perfectly executed.
The whole show kicked off in a dimly lit hall at The Bell House with a large profile painting of a buffalo looking down over the crowd. Kevin walked out on stage with an acoustic guitar and proceeded to thank everyone for coming before explaining how the night’s events were to commence. It was to resemble something close to a variety show, and he hit the nail right on the head.
The night would weave back and forth between Kevin and all of the collaborating artists, creating this atomic set that placed Devine as the nucleus with everyone else rotating around him. One such example was during his time on stage with Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh of Tigers Jaw. He started out their set together by playing “For Eugene” with Collins singing backup vocals. After that, bandmate Ben Walsh joined her to do an acoustic rendition of “Teen Rocket” and “Plane vs Tank vs Submarine”. Finally, they were reunited by Devine and his fellow bandmates to perform a cover of the Cure’s “In Between Days” and an explosive rendition of “Cool”.
Other highlights from the night included amazing performances from singer/songwriter Laura Stevenson and Mike Kinsella of Owen and American Football. Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy also got a chance to show off some of her solo talent by playing with Devine and his band, as well as Joe of Cymbals Eat Guitars. Kevin even got to perform a song with his wife Carey Brandenburg. The show rounded out with a little back and forth between the host and Matthew Caws, eventually ending with some final songs with the whole Goddamn Band.
Looking back now, I think this may be my favorite show of 2015 (taking over the slot previously reserved for Kevin Devine, Manchester Orchestra, and Brand New at the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown). Sure, that one was jam packed with unbelievable performances; however, this show was all of that combined with a uniqueness in its delivery to the audience. It was full of collaboration, stories, and conversations that made the already intimate setting feel even more personal. At one point I even brushed up against the great Mike Kinsella spectating from outside the doors as I was going to look at the merch table. Everything about the night felt very fluid, relaxed, and yet meticulously organized. I’d love to see more bands implementing these practices in the future because this was one goddamn night to remember.