Recap: Kevin Devine at SUNY

Last night, the Campus  Center Ballroom at UAlbany, accomadated students looking to break up their academic week nicely, with the treat of some live music from local musicians and city folk alike.  WCDB got it right on point that a concert was a more solid, positive form of distraction from prepping for next week’s final exams than getting worked up over whether or not the fountains will be turned on or other various areas of focus these days on campus. BTW, Shoenice won.

photo by katie anello

I personally have realized the past few shows that, well, these things start on time and for some reason I always assume they never do.  Therefore I regret to report that this is the second time in a row that I’ve attended where I’ve missed a band that I did not want to miss. Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned opened up this show, after being out on the road touring extensively for a month or so.  They trekked across country playing shows all over the west coast and central US, as well as playing as a part of this year’s SXSW festival.  The band is no doubt up to good things, and you can be sure to catch them at this year’s Tulip Fest on Sunday, May 8th.

Another band up to good things is Lights Resolve, billed second.  They are from NYC and recently had their single, “Long Way to Go,” featured on an episode during the first season of KAB favorite, the Jersey Shore.  The three-piece was energetic and interactive in setting the mood of the entire night, with a “feel good, laid back” vibe.

The wide space of the Campus Ballroom adapted sound fairly well, and the band made a joke about the “light show.”  I’m fairly certain someone was just standing next to a light switch, changing the light from dark to less dark.  It proved once again that when the music is good, you don’t need special effects and a pricey light show, you can just hang out and listen. We were provided with leftover beach balls and glow sticks, courtesy of WCDB, so that was a fun touch to this show as well. Lights Resolve played upbeat semi-angsty-semi-not-angsty songs in the genre of alternative rock.  They played what they announced was all new material and it all sounded pretty good to me.  They will be returning to Albany on May 7, at the Hudson River Coffee House.

Headliner Kevin Devine rightfully so stole the spotlight, and was genuinely a very nice guy about it.  Everyone present was stoked as hell that he was playing and the 50-75 or so in attendance crowded towards the stage anticipating his set, even while he and his band were setting up.  Also of note that someone in the audience drove all the way from LI to Albany just to catch him play here.  I also noticed that there was a fairly even male-to-female ratio in the crowd, and it seemed like everyone was in a good mood, regardless of being amidst finals week.

I haven’t been exposed much to his music in the past, but after listening to him with fresh ears, I pretty much landed on the fact that he sounds nostalgic, kind of like the music from my high school days, but if I was cooler in high school.

Kevin Devine is from Brooklyn and has been making moves musically since 2002, recording his first album, “Make the Clocks Move” in 2003.  His musical résumé and discography is quite impressive, touring with acts like Brand New and Manchester Orchestra, and traveling both across the US and the globe.

Devine appeared on stage with quite the crew, on stage with a handful of other musicians, including his percussionist who caught my eye with his beat boxing talents and use of playing, what Devine highlighted as, “you know, the laptop.”  His band was ready to rock out, and quickly smashed the preconceived musings of some in the audience that this would be an acoustic show.  Kevin Devine and his band embraced the challenge of playing to the SUNY crowd creating a mid-week weekend for some and had some overall good fun with the crowd.  They got some attendees dancing hard to their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” a performance which they joked was an experience worth $12.

Kevin dipped back into his catalog and played some new songs as well.  I wasn’t able to make note of a track list, but you should check out his music online, as well as look forward to the release of his 6th LP, “Between the Concrete and the Clouds,” which was reported to be finished being recorded on March 6th of this year.

This show was sponsored by WCDB, Students for Live Music, University Auxiliary Services, and Mary Jane Books, and was an overall, laid back, no-brainer good time.  Thanks to all who came out and also to the bros casually eating pasta outside the Ballroom doors, catching what they could hear of the show in the lobby, before the noise of the small fountain outside the CC drowned out the sounds fading into the night.

More pix here on KC’s flickr.

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