by Chris Farren, Antarctigo Vespucci
On the eve of their new record, Chris Farren from Antarctigo Vespucci, tells us why you all should be listening to Kevin Devine.
"I first met Kevin one million years ago in 2013 when my old band Fake Problems was part of a support package that he and his Goddamn Band were also on. The tour was big and fun but Kevin and I didn’t really get to know each other that well. Through the years we kept in touch though, playing sporadic shows together coincidentally, seeing each other at weddings, all of that.
Kevin asked me to join him on the road in the summer of 2017 for a few weeks of solo touring. Instigator had come out a few months before and I loved it. It struck me with that same vital urgency of the first Desaparecidos album. It’s a real political album that holds up through time, not weighed down by an overabundance of specifics, but giving a cathartic voice to the overarching problems the USA specifically had (has) been going through.
Beyond the themes and the lyrics, the album has some truly exciting production and instrumental flourishes. It’s a truly dazzling listen, and I NEVER say that!! Ask anyone!!! Ok, I say it sometimes but only when it applies!!!
I wondered and was eager to see how the songs would fair in an acoustic setting, knowing full well that Kevin knows what he’s doing.
And I was right (I always am), while Kevin’s albums always impress with stellar musicianship, the true star of the show is always the songcraft. Every song on the album stands impeccably on it’s own with just voice and guitar. He paces the stage with this reserved intensity that is utterly captivating. I’ve never spent so much time on a tour just watching the set of who I was on tour with. Never!!! Ask anyone!!!! It’s like when you go to the zoo and there’s a tiger and the tiger is like right there next to the glass pacing back and forth. In this case, Kevin is the tiger and the audience is the zoo-goer and I guess like um Schuba’s in Chicago is the zoo. Anyway, I’m saying he’s majestic.
Kevin and I did get to know each other on that tour. We shared long conversations in green rooms and venue loading zones next to dumpsters. We shared a million inside jokes and talked about things we both think suck, people we love and songwriting. The closing track on the album “I Was Alive Back Then” is hands down one of my favourite songs ever written. I CRIED listening to it one time while I was driving in the Express Lane illegally on the way to San Diego for a show. I got a $90 ticket."
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