The Devil Makes Three & Scott H. Biram 11.18.17

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & photos by Ryan Fitzgerald (Jarred Media)

November 18th at the Ogden Theater in Denver saw night one of a two-night run for Scott H. Biram and The Devil Makes Three, closing out an insane fall tour that covered the U.S. from the Dirty South to the Pacific Northwest, leaving behind a trail of sonic destruction along the way. Having lived in Austin before my time in Denver, I became very familiar with the work of Scott Biram and his “dirty old one man band.” If punk, blues, country, and metal had a whiskey-fueled four-way, Scott would have been the bastard lovechild. The Devil Makes Three, with a sound all their own that I’ve since only been able to describe as “Spookygrass,” made their way into my heart shortly thereafter. Seven years ago I would have never imagined the two acts on the same stage on the same night, though now that I’ve seen it I suppose I should have...

Scott took the stage early, kicking things off with all the fire and sound of a much bigger band, covering hits both old and new from his catalog. For a guy I’ve seen crush a room like Three Kings with no problem, it was both great and unsurprising to be able to see him fill a venue like The Ogden with that level of sound and energy. People were moshing, sweaty, and it seemed pretty drunk before the clock even struck 10. Working my way through the pit, I can say the man got himself a ton of new fans that night, as he damn well should have. By the time it was all over, there was a very well-earned musk hanging in the air and the energy in the room was at a fever pitch, ready for the headliner.

Watching the rise of The Devil Makes Three has been an absolute treat. In just the last three years, I’ve seen them open for Trampled by Turtles at Red Rocks, putting on a performance that I’d have expected from the main act, to one year later headlining their own Red Rocks show with another son of Texas, Shakey Graves. They’ve earned a massive following, playing all over the world in venues large and small, though now mostly large. Getting the notification that they were playing not one, but TWO nights in one of my favorite rooms seemed like a dream.

They kicked things off right, starting with "The Bullet" and going right into "Pray for Rain #9" and then their phenomenal cover of Robert Johnson’s "Drunken Hearted Man" from their tribute album Redemption & Ruin, as well as "I’m Gonna Get High" by Tampa Red off the same album. As is wont to happen during a sad song about blues, the crowd responded by kicking their energy (and alcohol consumption) into high gear. It’s a good thing they did, because the show did not slow down. We heard classics like "Old No. 7," "Gracefully Facedown," and "Tow," as well as more recent hits from I’m A Stranger Here like "Hallelu" and "Spinning Like a Top." I honestly don’t think I could have picked a better setlist.

All in all, the show itself wasn’t a particularly long one, but both acts used their time incredibly well. I haven’t been to a show in a room like that with that particular kind of high intensity energy in a long time. Both of these bands are favorites of mine (if that weren’t obvious) and if you take one thing away from this, let it be this; next time you see Scott H Biram or The Devil Makes Three coming to your town, drop what you’re doing and get your tickets. I don’t see either of these acts slowing down any time soon.

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