Black Suit Devil: Live at Living Roots Music Festival

Black Suit Devil

A musician’s first encounter with Black Suit Devil typically goes something like this: The show starts, the first few chords are played, and a few lyrics are sung. The musician’s ears perk up. “Oh wow! I wonder what kind of effects he uses on his voice.” They casually walk to the front of the stage, their eyes riveted to Black Suit Devil’s feet. And then, a look of surprise… There are no pedals! Their eyes follow the XLR cable directly from the microphone to the mixing console. Still nothing. The musician slowly returns to their seat in disbelief while scrambling for their phone. A photo or a short video is taken before the messaging app is opened. “Yo! I’m watching this guy play and he’s harmonizing with himself. No pedals! His voice has a polyphonic quality to it. It’s SICK! I think his name is Black Suit Devil or something!” Have you done it? I’m guilty as charged! But it’s important to remember that there is so much more to Black Suit Devil than that initial first impression. 

Andy Du Rego, also known for his role as the frontman for The Blues Emergency, has been performing as Black Suit Devil for a decade. He has been a regular visitor to Canada’s east coast since 2017. This year marked Andy’s fifth appearance at the Living Roots Music Festival in Fredericton, NB, and we are extremely thankful! I’ll admit, it’s getting increasingly hard to imagine an edition of the festival without his presence. It would be like showing up at a family reunion only to realize that your most cherished relative isn’t there. I was very fortunate to catch his performance this time around at Par 94 Golf & Bar Lounge. 

Black Suit Devil

While I am not dismissing his recordings whatsoever, Andy’s live performances never fail to elevate the songs. His entire body goes into making the sounds that emerge from his guitar and vocal cords. If he were to be portrayed as a superhero, his special power would be the ability to make time stop in its tracks. This performance included many new songs such as “Passage,” a cut from his latest album entitled “The Eternal Sleep,” and a brand new one called “The Preacher,” which I enjoyed very much.  

This was the third of five shows for Andy during the festival, and before finishing his set with a rousing rendition of “Dreams,” Du Rego apologized to the audience. “If you’ve been to my other shows this week, you’ll notice that I’ve played this next one every single time. A Black Suit Devil show feels incomplete if I don’t include Dreams.” I can certainly agree with that. It felt just as fresh, new, and current as it did the first time that I heard it. Andy later told me that he once read a quote that changed his life: “People come to a show not to listen to music, but to feel something.” A Black Suit Devil show embodies that statement completely. 

Black Suit Devil

When asked about what can be expected from “The Eternal Sleep,” Andy admits that it could be qualified as a “pandemic record.” While John Brand and Vic Freitas provided bass and drums respectively, it’s the first Black Suit Devil album to feature Andy exclusively on the guitar. “I wanted to push myself and overcome my own insecurities as far as playing lead guitar.” The singles released ahead of the album showcase a harder sound, and the guitar work is fantastic. I admire Du Rego for tackling themes and subjects that don’t always line up with everyone’s values. He sings his own uncensored truth. It’s very courageous of him to do so and speaks for his level of honesty. Simply put, this album is REAL! It’s also important to note that it is entirely self-produced and nearly all the recording was done at his home studio. To quote Andy himself, this was his chance to “go big or go home!” 

I will add that Du Rego is also a staunch supporter of our local and regional music scene. While he was incredibly busy with his own performances during the Living Roots Music Festival, he found time to visit all the venues and attended as many shows as he could. He even had the Living Roots logo tattooed on his arm at the end of the week. It’s the kind of dedication that makes him a true east coast favourite! 

Black Suit Devil’s third studio album, “The Eternal Sleep,” is officially released and available everywhere today. Oh, today is also my birthday. I’m already feeling spoiled! 

Thanks once again to Ollie LeBlanc for this guest post.

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