Words // Scott Pingeton
Photo // Music Savage
Over the past few months I've made no secret of the fact that The Devil Whale's new album Teeth is one of my favorite records of the year. Brinton Jones' often-obtuse, poetic turns of phrase mix with the catchiest amalgam of folk, psych and indie rock this side of Dr. Dog. Do yourself a favor and check it out, you won't be sorry.
As big of a fan as I am though, I hadn't had a chance to see the band live. That changed a couple weeks ago, when The Head And The Heart brought The Devil Whale to town as support for their sold out show at Royale. It was the band's first ever show in Boston, and they made the most of their super-early club-night Royale timeslot. The band worked hard to win over new fans as the room slowly filled up, and as far as I could tell they were hugely successful. What started as a distracted crowd became more engaged as the set went on - clapping along, whispering how great this band was and finally reacting with a huge ovation as the band left the stage.
As expected the set drew heavily from Teeth, including most of the album with the unfortunate exception of "Earthquake Dreams -- one of my favorite tracks. Live the songs were faithful to the originals, with perhaps a bit more grit and energy than the studio versions. The 8-song, 30-minute set was well-paced, mixing upbeat tracks such as "Standing Stones" and "Barracudas" with slower ones like "Television Zoo" which showcased the band's range. The set closer "The Road To Hell" had everyone clapping along and making mental notes to stop by the merch table at the end of the night. One of many standouts from Teeth, the song's casual, tossed-off vibe belies the depth of the lyrics, which include some of my favorite lines...
I want to listen to the radio
But they keep playing the same war
He's got a gun under his pillow
And Jesus on his dresser
But neither one makes him feel safe anymore
I can't wait for The Devil Whale to return to Boston for a headlining show, but until then here's a complete recording of the band's set at Royale. Sound quality is just as good as The Head And The Heart recording from last week, which is to say it's excellent. Enjoy and please support the band by buying their music!
The Devil Whale
Royale - Boston, MA
September 30, 2011
Full set download: mp3 zip
Bonus: another acoustic track filmed by Kitchen Sessions on the street in Boston after the band's set - "Magic Numbers" is one of my favorite tracks off the album and it sounds especially great echoing through a Theater District alley here...