Live Review: Devon Gilfillian

 Tractor Tavern Seattle, WA 

Contact: Shore Fire Media 

Web: devongilfillian.com 

Players: Devon Gilfillian, Vocals, uitar; Jonathan Smalt, drums, backing vocals; Matthew Chancey, bass; Josh Blaylock, keys, backing vocals; Ray Mason, trombone; Nate Felty, percussion; Parker Knight, crew 

Material: Devon Gilfillian is a gifted singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who creates neo-rocked-out soul. Gilfillian's provocative lyrics delve into life’s complex manifolds—from finding and experiencing love to observing and contending with socio-political injustices. 

Musicianship: Gilfillian’s vocals are superb. He effortlessly moves his rapturous voice, which embodies Curtis Mayfield’s silky-smooth timbre, from dark lows to seductive highs in ”Imma Let My Body Move.” As a guitarist, his work also pays homage to Mayfield’s innovative guitar technique, but also points toward Prince’s electrified virtuosity in the supercharged, post-chorus breakdowns “Unchained” and the extraordinary experimental “Follow the Leader.” 

Keyboardist Blaylock provided exquisite additional melodics which included his unaccompanied “Piano Interlude.” The rhythm section—Smalt on drums, Felty on percussion, and Chancey on bass—read each other’s beats, fills, and low lines to perfection. As an ensemble, they provided amazing accompaniment for Gilfillian’s gorgeous grooves. 

Performance: Devon Gilfillian walked onto a Tractor Tavern stage decorated with woven carpets, warmly lit lamps, and several well-placed floral arrangements. He shined a bright smile to the excited, sold-out crowd and surged into the delectable “Brown Sugar Queen.” His seductive voice and alluring personality brought the already tight audience closer, squeezing them together for the Afrobeat-driven “Get Out and Get It” and the neo-funk “Right Kind of Crazy.” Gilfillian and company moved further into the night with the sultry “The Recipe” before belting out an emotionally stirring rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What Going On.” The show ended with soaring atmospherics in the poignant “Love you Anyway.” 

Summary: Magical best describes Devon Gilfillian’s live show. The joyous contemplative beauty of his music combined with his effervescent, authentic personality instantly draws people toward him. His effortless skill in blending a wide variety of musical genres and lyrical content in his compositions is impressive while his soul-based musicianship is on par with the best in the business. Make sure to check out Devon Gilfillian on tour as well as his most recent album Love You Anway.