Live Review: Kevin Devine – Old Blue Last, London, July 22nd 2009

Kevin+DevineBeing part of a 100-person crowd that had been invited to watch Brooklyn’s favourite Irish boy, Kevin Devine, perform was quite exciting, maybe more so because it was free. So, as 8pm rolled around, people of all ages (mostly those within the early 30’s denomination) had filled the room waiting for his appearance on stage.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. I had an inkling something was up when I saw that an ironing board had remained on stage despite the time it had gotten to. On came the support band, Morton Valence. They sang about notions and oceans and to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it. Once the megaphone had been brought out towards the end of the first song, I was pretty sure it couldn’t get more hysterically awkward. When their frontman, Bob of Morden (who was correct about one thing: if you’ve never been to Morden, don’t bother going) announced they were onto their last song, a sense of relief had filled the soul of not just myself but the uncomfortable faces of others around me.

Inconspicuously enters Kevin Devine, electro-acoustic guitar in tow. A slow silence filled the room as he began to sing Brother’s Blood, a song from his latest album of the same name. The change of tone in his voice had definitely caught the attention of those still at the bar.

The night consisted of a nice routine: he’d play a few songs, stop to ask the crowd how they’re doing, possibly tell a woman (who obviously had a tipple too many) “Okay …That’s nice.” in response to her outbreaks of ‘I love you!’ and ‘Your girlfriend is over here!’, play more songs, so on and so forth. A nice selection of songs had been sang from his famous Go Haunt Someone Else to new tracks such as Yr Husband.

No one – not even Kevin – quite knew when the show was meant to end, but it was called quits once it had hit 11:15pm. Even then, a few steps off the stage, he looked around and had a sorrowful look about him. Going back on stage, a harmonious “What the fuck?” chatter came about everyone. He then proceeded to apologise for not playing the requests people had emailed in to play, but his Catholicism had made him feel guilty and began to sing a couple more songs.

Usually, after standing for so long, constant whines of “My back hurts.” would have befallen me, however, no one seemed to care about their bodies (more than half of the crowd had indulged in an alcoholic beverage or two, anyway). I had stood for a little over two hours in complete awe of one humble man and his guitar. Without a doubt, I would have done it again.



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