Blues rock at its finest. That’s Devon Coyote. Amid the five guitar changes (I think, I stopped counting) witty banter and impeccable chemistry among the band members, this live show rivals most you will see on Western Canada’s independent touring circuit.
A decade in the making, Devon Coyote has hit a stride and their pace isn’t slowing. Since the debut album Blue, Black & Grey in 2011, frontman and songwriter Devon Bjarnason has been tailoring his craft to not only reflect who he is as an artist, but to express this as completely as possible in his band’s live show. To accomplish this relied heavily on finding bandmates whose vibe would not only compliment his music, but who would stick around. Having jammed with many seasoned musicians and opened for rock treasures such as Blue Rodeo and George Thorogood, over the past few years the band has been building a solid foundation with their current trio of Bjarnason (vocals, lead guitar), D’Arcy Booth (bass) and Rod Anderson (drums).
This band consistently plays in the pocket while displaying an authentic respect and camaraderie for one another both on and off the stage.
Percussionist and drummer Rod Anderson’s smile is intoxicating. I have no idea what this guy’s secret is but whatever it is, sign me up. It’s been awhile since I have met someone with that type of presence, someone who just oozes positive energy, but not in an annoying disingenuous way, in a way where just by being in his company makes you feel a whole hell of a lot better about yourself. He is one of the most entertaining drummers to watch play, making his impeccable skill look effortless with how much fun he appears to be having. This includes perfecting the head bang with the ability to vary his intensity depending on the song. Mid-set Bjarnason laughed with the audience about the fact that ever so often he will look back at Anderson during a show and think to himself, “My God, how has he not thrown his neck out yet?!” But he never does.
And then there is D’Arcy Booth; quiet, smart, confident, cool. Zero bull shit. This guy is the real deal through and through. Married to the woman of his dreams and father to a baby boy, they are his entire world with music coming in a close second. His commitment to the band is steadfast and loyal. This is no hobby. This is his profession and he owns it.
Both Anderson and Booth are exceptional as is their complete trust and belief in Bjarnason. Devon Bjarnason is that blend between endearing and edgy. He is the tough guy you would trust with your life, not because you are scared of him, but because he makes you feel safe. And when he lets go up on stage tearing into those slide riffs and singing so hard you think his lungs might burst, you are in it with him for every note and there is nowhere else you would rather be. That’s the hold this band’s live performance can have on you.
Thankfully, we have only seen the beginning of what this band has up their sleeves, so get yourself to a live show and experience it for yourself. There is only one thing better than watching a band at the pinnacle of their career perform…watching a band that is this good and you know they are going to get even better.
Devon Coyote performed at Serenity Performing Arts Centre on January 21, 2017.
For upcoming tour dates, links to social media feeds and more, visit http://www.devoncoyote.com
Photos courtesy of Steve Mechem.