4Knots Skippers Stage
Saturday, July 14
Better than: Expected. For real.
Clouds blocked the sun yesterday afternoon as Devin’s set came to a close. The bass player lay on his back, inching his way across the stage like a caterpillar, thrusting his hips into the air. Next to the stage in the crowd, a big dude with long blond hair couldn’t stop headbanging. Behind me, a couple started making out. The band had just finished their set on the Skippers Stage at 4Knots, and it seemed as if lead singer and guitarist Devin Therriault had turned his three-piece and the crowd into one big pulse, ready and willing to fuck anything and everything—even if it was just the sky.
Devin, a three-piece rock band based in Brooklyn, channels a sound that’s getting rarer and rare these days: good old-fashioned guitar-driven rock. While garnering hefty comparisons to the Strokes, New York Dolls, or Stooges, Therriault’s voice squeals like a young Elvis Constello on his band’s debut Romancing (Frenchkiss). He shamelessly sings traditional stories of being in love and, at times, losing it. But there’s nothing boring about it. From the first track, the record jumps on the listener’s ears, wrapping you in for some fuzz and joy and not letting go for 44 minutes.
Yesterday’s set was no different. At one point, Therriault stood at the end of the stage, both hands on the mic, guitar swinging back and forth, screaming: “I hate the motherfucking sun!” He took that rage and directed it into his high-pitched squeal, launching the band into a fabulous rendition of “I’m Not A Fool,” a swinging, explosive cut from Romancing. “What you want, I don’t have,” he chirped. “What I want, I ain’t never gonna get.”
Devin is an appropriate name for the band, as it’s all about Therriault. On top of his trembly, aggressive vocals, he carries a charmingly whimsical stage presence, not afraid to interact and joke with the crowd. Sometimes, it comes across a bit too cutesy, but most of the time, it’s hard to not just respect the guy for having so much fun. Sporting a Hawaiian shirt and holey jeans, he bounced around in circles with his bass player, both doing their best, it seemed, to blow the speakers. Behind him, the drummer slammed his sticks with graceful assault. Even though it was happening right in front of me, I still couldn’t believe that a band this small was making this much noise.
Critical bias: I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop lately and Devin convinced me that the guitar is still a useful instrument.
Random notebook dump: I need to get a Hawaiian shirt.