Beat the Devil
It's a rare event when I walk into a show and get blown away by a relatively unknown quantity. Beat the Devil did just that to me last night.
Beat the Devil is a trio from Brooklyn with a sound rooted in blues, or perhaps urban folk. Not to slight their bass player and drummer, but the act's 'wow' factor comes from vocalist Shilpa Ray. Her voice is almost otherworldly, a passioned growl you can hardly believe is coming from the petite femme on stage. She plays harmonium rather than the traditional guitar, which also sets this band apart from scores of its contemporaries.
What the Village Voice had to say...
...half the fun in seeing this volatile NYC jazz-folk-blues-punk outfit lies in watching the unfamiliar react the first time lead singer Shilpa Ray opens her mouth. Typical reaction: shock and awe. She looks tiny and jovial (especially surrounded by her menacing, dudely bandmates), but goddamn can she ever shriek, alternating jazzy, evocative moans (she's inspired Billie Holiday comparisons, and for once they don't sound totally ridiculous) with a nuclear-grade, paint-evaporating, continent-shifting howl loaded with more volume, rage, and pathos than the entire Ozzfest lineup combined.
I'm with them. Shilpa informed me that they'll be recording their debut full-length this summer and hitting the road again in the fall. I'll be looking forward to it.
From their EP, which I picked up last night:
Beat the Devil - Shine in Exile
Beat the Devil - Plea Bargain
For more info, see their official site or Myspace.