“This is the best show we’ve played on this tour,” Brooklyn-based indie folk artist Kevin Devine announces to the crowded basement venue of Soup Kitchen, and based on his ability to fill out this particular venue, perhaps it is. Devine has been touring Europe and the UK in support of his recently released records Bubblegum and Bulldozer, which he terms to be a mix of his typical acoustic tracks and “more angry garage rock” (the latter might be a stretch). There’s no doubt that Devine has talent, and captivates the audience with his sincere lyricism and wry humor, but there’s something to be said when the most rousing applause of the night comes from his Smiths cover of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’.
Although an hour and a half set list isn’t too unusual, there comes a time when there is only so much to be heard of similar sounding acoustic songs. To be fair, this may also have been due to the choice of support act Sorry, No, another solo acoustic artist hailing from Manchester who, despite his best efforts, didn’t come across as much more than a watered-down version of Devine.
At least Devine seemed comfortable on stage, albeit very self-deprecating (introducing songs by means of “all I do is write is love songs, and they’re mostly shit, but this one might be alright” doesn’t seem to instill a vote of confidence and very high expectations, especially considering Devine has been touring for more than a decade). All in all, the fact that Devine has been at it for so long makes it confusing that the whole performance seemed a tad reminiscent of one by an insecure songwriter at an open mic. However, there’s no denying that he has a genuinely good voice, and that’s what counts in the long run.