Devil Makes Three gets Women’s Club shaking

Devil Makes Three, Fri., June 6 at the Chico Women’s Club

One show-goer called Santa Cruz nouveau blues trio Devil Makes Three’s sound “a punky version of the Kingston Trio,” the group that made folk music so wildly popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Like the Kingston Trio, Devil Makes Three seems to be one of the groups—along with other present-day Americana acts like The Duhks, The Greencards and The Mammals—who are bringing old-school-sounding folk/blues to huge new crowds. These groups polish the sound with modern touches like cool clothes, up-to-date lyrics, and, in DM3’s case, an endearing punk attitude that is insistent but not angry.

The band packed the Chico Women’s Club inside and out last Friday night, with a noticeable emphasis on the 20-something crowd.

Guitarist/frontman Pete Bernhard, looking hiply retro in his porkpie hat, led the drummerless group—rounded out by guitarist Cooper McBean and pretty upright bassist Lucia Turino—through song after rockin’ song while a packed dance floor pressed as close to the stage as possible. A Devil Makes Three performance is no sit-down affair—not a chair to be found.

While they may not be musical virtuosos (for instance, no one takes a solo), the members of Devil Makes Three are full of infectious energy and have obvious love for the blues, which is evident in their own old-sounding originals and vintage tunes, like “St. James Infirmary Blues.”

Their “Old Number Seven,” a raucous ode to Jack Daniels, had the place rockin’ at one point as beer-drinking dancers reveled in the DM3 spirit: “Tennessee whiskey got me drinkin’ in heaven / And I know I can’t stay here too long, ‘cause I can’t go a week without doin’ wrong … “

Devil Makes Three is in heavy rotation on KPIG, apparently much to Chicoans’ delight. And North Valley Productions promoter Steve Schuman probably listens, since he certainly seems to have his finger on the pulse of locals’ tastes in Americana.