Words by Hassan Ul-Haq / Pics by Sam Frank Wood Photography
(Ed’s note: This review was taken from the This Is Tmrw 2020 Season Launch Party at the Hare & Hounds, with The Devil and Saint Joseph playing alongside Coffee Breath, MUTES, The Cosmics, Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, and Table Scraps.
Tackling a somewhat mammoth sized line up, we opted to cherry pick a band we’ve not reviewed before… may the Gods of garage-punk-indie-rock forgive us.)
When coming across the Birmingham music scene, in particular the fuzz esc locality of various bands across the city, you begin to familiarise yourself with those artists. Whether it be through their artistic and stylistic choices, or for their various side-projects.
That being said, The Devil and Saint Joseph might be familiar to many – as two of its members, Joe Joseph and Emily Doyle, where once part of the Trash-Blues band The Hungry Ghosts. Now that the former is dead, from the ashes rises a new project. Alongside guitarist Billy Beale, the new trio create a live experience that is immersive and experimental as it is engaging and mesmerising.
Opening the stage for the This is Tmrw 2020 Launch night (which had an array of incredible bands performing) The Devil and Saint Joseph kicked off the evening in a way I’ve not seen any local band do for a long time. Performing alongside a projector, that plays a fictional film created by front man Joe Joseph, their music is filled with various influences of country and psychedelic blues that immerses the audience into the creation of this new project.
Seeing The Devil and Saint Joseph play live for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking they are an American band with the Velvet Underground sensibilities and elements of The Psychedelic Furs. Front man, Joe Joseph, oozes an eerie mystique, one that is partially due to his love of Americana across both film and music. Singing songs like ‘Hollywood Babylon’, which showcase a different Joe Joseph from his previous incarnation, it is as if he has just been resurrected and born anew – reaching a new level of reinvention in the local scene.
We shouldn’t forget the contribution of the other members, who help to deliver a great performance. Emily Doyle – taking the stage as a drummer, keyboardist and programmer – layers the tracks with pounding percussion (especially on songs like ‘A Season of Crime’) and has some incredible vocal chops to add as well.
Whilst guitarist, Billy Boyle, delivers some incredible blues riffs that would make Muddy Waters blush. Boyle’s range on the fretboard often helps set the tone and are the highlight of the song ‘Motel Dreams’ – I a track straight out of the 60s psychedelic era. Again, you would be forgiven to think that the track was a Cream B-Side.
I like to think The Devil and Saint Joseph come from an alternative world, a world where their music is from an American TV serial based in a small city with a population of 51,201. I like to think they perform in a venue called The Roadhouse.
But for now, they are an Earth bound Birmingham band that everyone needs to check out – especially live, to experience the immersive nature of the music. Where they go next, we’ll have to wait and find out.
For more on The Devil and Saint Joseph, visit www.facebook.com/thedevilandsaintjoseph
**The Devil and Saint Joseph will be playing at The Sunflower Lounge on Saturday 8th February, supporting Japanese Television – with Mutes also supporting. Promoted by Killer Wave, for more gig info and links to online tickets click here**
For more from This Is Tmrw, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.thisistmrw.co.uk
For more on the Hare & Hounds, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk
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