Kevin Devine - Berlin

posted 18 Dec 2009, 05:06 by The Editor
Privatclub, Berlin
13th December 2009

by Doerte Heilewelt

I haven’t heard much of Kevin Devine before – only that he is good and some of the tracks on his myspace. Many of the songs there are recorded with a full band, since my concert ticket read "Kevin Devine (Solo)", I had no clue what to expect - except a singer/songwriter, a guy with a guitar in a small club. Actually there were two guys, with two guitars. 

The supporting act for Kevin Devine was the Swedish singer/songwriter Chikan. Even though both “just” sung and played guitar their sound couldn’t be more different. Chikan played some indie rock melodies with some playful interludes here and there. Songs like “All Your Friends Are Models” and “Electric Eels” come with intresting lyrics but unfortunately he wasn’t able to catch the whole club. He was missing that little extra that a singer/songwriter needs – maybe he was just a bit disturbed by all the mumbling in the back of the club. 

Kevin Devine has that extra. He started his set with the title song of his newest record “Brother’s Blood” (released by Big Scary Monster Records Company in the UK). This song is a mix of rock, folk and a bit of blues and makes you believe he is from the deepest heart of Nashville but he isn’t. He is from Brooklyn, NY. It was when he stepped back from the microphone and sung out loud on top of his lungs that I felt the intensity and honesty of what he sings.

Devine didn't come to wrap you up in his wonderful melodies and he won’t let you drift away. His lyrics are often of a very political nature. Even if you haven’t known them before it is not difficult to understand the words he sings – even for someone who usually never understands the words people sing on stage. His voice is clear and wonderful and sounds like he is eager to make you think – about modern politics, about changing yourself, about being a better person.

With songs like “Ballgame” and “I Could Be With Anyone” he enters melodies which are almost pop. Especially “I Could Be With Anyone” is a song with a strong hookline that will stuck in your head for a couple of days even if you have just heard it once. 
Devine doesn’t care for any music genre – he uses whatever he needs. Thats why we were allowed to hear everything from all-American folk to rock to pop on this magnificient evening. This becomes even more clear after you have listened to his “Brother’s Blood” record where he is supported by the The Goddamn Band

The only thing that was a bit disturbing was the noisy bar (cocktail shakers and mixers) in the back of the club. It seemed as if Devine was a bit disturbed by this as well since he made a comment on these strange noises on stage. Another very little thing that was quite disturbing to me was that he had to check is Blackberry for the setlist including turning around and go to the “back of the stage” (a rather small stage). This made the audience/Devine interaction a bit difficult at times.

Unfortunately the concert almost ended with Devine forgetting the words to the last song he played. Luckily he just played another last song for us. Despite that little mistake the audience was stoked in the end and applauded for minutes. Next time he plays in my town, I sure will be there again.