Murder City Devils are no longer the kind of band that sets their drums on fire, or plays dive bars. For quite some time they were technically no longer even a band. But for now, having reunited for a series of shows instead of just one, they’re back — the kind of band who packs Nokia Theater Times Square, a venue normally reserved for acts like Sugarland, Dashboard Confessional & Alkaline Trio. Something about rockabilly, punk, hardcore, and reformed hardcore types descending on the turf of emo kids and soccer moms made the Devils’ manic takeover all the more sweet.
Frontman Spencer Moody, who used to sport glasses and short hair, and bore an odd resemblance to Harvey Danger’s Sean Nelson, now looks even more the part of morbid garage punk vocalist, having traded in the glasses and acquired a full beard. Otherwise, glancing at the stage, it was the same old Murder City Devils of Pacific Northwest lore.
It took all of five seconds into the opener, “Press Gang,” for the crowd to throw themselves around the floor in a frenzy, with multiple mosh circles opening, and everyone being swayed back and forth, side to side. Hands in the air, everyone screamed along to classics like “I Want A Lot Now (So Come On)” and “It’s In My Heart” to the newest material, like “Bear Away” and “Midnight Service At The Mutter Museum.” Having waited some nine years since the Murder City Devils’ last East Coast jaunt, no one was anything short of ecstatic. As guitarist Dann Galucci flung himself around & Moody wriggled on the stage, it seemed the Devils had found, once more, whatever it was that compelled them to be in the group in the first place.
The only downside was, between their songs’ short length, and the show’s full-throttle energy, 18 songs went by all too fast. Later that evening, the band’s Twitter feed read, “Thank you New York. See you again soon.” Here’s hoping that’s true.