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Review: Devfits at the Blank Club

In Music
Rob Crow

Devfits, a side project from Pinback singer Rob Crow that mashes Devo and Misfits songs with videos of his children acting out Devo videos, turned out to be weirder and more meticulously prepared than expected last night at the Blank Club.

Crow was the sole member of Devfits. All the music was pre-recorded and he sang the songs karaoke style while wearing a skin tight silver outfit and a creepy serial killer mask reminiscent of the the human-skin mask Anthony Hopkins’s character wore in the famous scene from the Silence of the Lambs. He sang and danced to the music with a silly swagger, which in contrast to the emotionless mask, was downright scary.

The instrumentation was a jumble of Devo and Misfits snippets, cut and pasted to create new, vaguely recognizable songs even to die-hard fans of either band. The lyrics and melodies, best I could tell, were approached the same way. The end result was a handful of offbeat dance-punk pop songs that were interesting and unique.

There were a few videos of his kid reading a semi-familiar Devo script that he was obviously too young to understand. It was hilarious. But most of the footage that played during Crow’s songs was a combination of weird archival film and new videos of Crow dancing and playing different instruments along to the music. The degree of effort Crow took to prepare this performance crossed the line from eccentric to uncomfortable.

Mid-way through the set, Crow moved out of the way of the screen so the audience could watch a nearly five-minute long interlude video of Crow sitting down in a chair with his face covered in bandages. A nurse slowly removed them, one bandage at a time, over a bed of foreboding music, which revealed Crow wearing a brand new, sci-fi mask—black nylon stretched over his head with fake eyes and a large silver collar covering the back of his head. Moments later, Crow emerged with the same motif on stage.

Devfits played a relatively short set of 30 minutes, which seemed like nothing compared to hour-long set from openers Sleeping People. Nonetheless, my hat is off to Crow. It’s not easy to create a live show this far off the beaten path.

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