Lucid Culture


Concert Review: Devi at Trash, Brooklyn NY 5/29/07

“I love New York!” exclaimed Devi frontwoman/guitarist Debra. “I’m from Wisconsin, where Friday nights the thing to do was go to Poppin’ Fresh Pies.

And eat pie.”

She and her power trio played with joy and abandon: it was as if they’d just been reprieved from a lifetime at the pie parlor. Tonight it was all about the songs. Maybe it was that Debra – like seemingly every singer in New York this week – had a bad case of allergies and didn’t feel like stretching out. For the most part, instead of getting all wild and psychedelic as they’re tending to do more these days, they hammered out one catchy powerpop number after another. Debra, one of the most exciting, original, virtuosic lead guitarists in rock, did stretch out one of their favorites for jamming, the edgy, anthemic When It Comes Down. First she launched into some blues, then some strategically placed feedback, then started feeling her way through the chorus. Like a cat looking around the house for food, she sniffed at her huge Marshall amp, brushed up against the drums and pawed at her effects pedals. Then, as if returning to a favorite spot by the window, she and the band went back into the song. Like the cat, the solo didn’t really go anywhere, but its insouciant grace was undeniably captivating.

Otherwise, it was nonstop energy, one song into another. They opened with the catchy riff-rocker Another Day and later did a growling, bouncy take on the old Del Shannon hit Runaway. Later, they played a couple of excellent new numbers: first the darkly gorgeous, minor-key, backbeat-driven Howl at the Moon, followed by the funky, sarcastic Miss Indispensable. On a couple of their songs, it was gratifying to see how much of a rapport has developed between band members. Debra led them in a call-and-response (could you imagine a band-du-jour like, say, the Killers playing off each others’ phrasing?), riffing on drummer John Hummel’s pounding tom-tom work as well as the fluid, upper-register melodicism of five-string bassist Dan Grennes.

Hummel’s drums kept scooching toward the front of the stage, which was a blessing in disguise since they were amped way too high in the mix, forcing him to hold back a little and this did a lot to bring the levels under control. While it would have been nice to have heard DeSalvo take a flying leap, swing out past the edge of the cliff and pull herself back with one hand, as she so often does, it was impressive to hear how strong her new songs are. Good to see this excellent, frequently exhilarating band getting some real momentum.

June 2, 2007 - Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. thanks for reviewing us…cool!! what about dan’s valiant efforts to keep the bass drum from scooching by periodically shoving the cinderblock back in front of it with his foot lol??…and yes, i blame it all on hay fever, which is the least sexy of all the fevers;-))

    Comment by Devi | June 2, 2007 | Reply

  2. Not only is Debra DeSalvo a great musician with a cool band, she’s also written a great book, “The Language of the Blues.” I should know, I just read it. And I’m originally from Peoria, so there!

    Comment by Marty Wombacher | June 4, 2007 | Reply

  3. Great article…I almost felt like I was there! I can’t wait for the new CD and I am looking forward to the day when this Texas girl can get to NY to witness a live performance of Debra DeSalvo! Cat 🙂

    Comment by Cat Gregory | June 4, 2007 | Reply

  4. […] Oct 11 Devi, which is scorching yet introspective and increasingly psychedelic lead guitarist Debra […]

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  5. […] have their own lists). As it turns out, it’s a competition: more about that later. Wanting to see Devi and to give the club a chance to redeem themselvese after the sonic fiasco that was the Sloe Guns […]

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  6. […] Thurs Oct 11 Devi plays Arlene’s, 9 PM. This is monster guitarist Debra DeSalvo’s every-more-increasingly […]

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  7. […] Against Racism footage at Central Park and watch a teenage Debra Adele AKA Debra DeSalvo (now with Devi) playing nasty, off-the-edge-of-the-cliff blues-rock riffs. Pretty amazing to see how she’s […]

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