Piper Ferguson / Piper Ferguson

The Devil Makes Three is, from left, Cooper McBean, Pete Bernhard and Lucia Turino. The band was launched in Santa Cruz.

Bluegrass band Devil Makes Three makes its Tahoe debut

Published: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 - 12:00 am

The music may seem a little strange to the venue. The MontBleu Theater, usually the place for electronic music, rap and adult comedians, will be the site for some bluegrass Saturday when The Devil Makes Three makes its Tahoe debut (the band plays at Sacramento’s Ace of Spades Friday night).

Whether the devil had anything to do with it or not, Pete Bernhard (guitar), Lucia Turino (upright bassist) and Cooper McBean (banjo and guitar) have made quite a name for themselves on the circuit, playing their own blend of acoustic Americana.

Coming out of Santa Cruz, the group is into its second decade as a band, having first released its eponymous album in 2002. The record was re-released by a new label, which is quite an accomplishment these days.

The band’s latest album, “I’m a Stranger Here,” released last year, may have a somewhat prophetic title, with its songs going in some new directions and taking on different styles than previous releases. Although not a “live” album, it has much the same feel, as all the cuts were tracked live in a home studio. The music veers from traditional bluegrass, and several songs take on a dark hue.

The band does have two live-performance albums out there, though – “A Little Bit Faster and a Little Bit Worse” and “Stomp and Smash.” (9 p.m.; $27.50, $30 on Saturday; montbleuresort.com)

The MontBleu also is dishing up a revue, running Fridays and Saturdays through April 5. “Sweet Talk: A Delicious Electro-Cirque Kiss” is a bit more in keeping with the theater’s usual fare of DJs – only this show adds such elements as a fire performer, a sword swallower and aerialists. The cast includes members of the Heavenly Angels, the go-go-dancing lovelies who perform at Heavenly Valley and promote the resort across the nation. (Times vary; $25)

Mark your calendar

The Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series takes place behind Harveys Hotel-Casino, and even though the venue is large, there are inevitable sellouts given the caliber of the acts. Three concerts were announced within the past two weeks: Country award-winning group the Zac Brown Band (“Chicken Fried”) on July 20 (tickets on sale Feb. 14 for $59.50-$135.50); a classic-rock pairing of Journey with the Steve Miller Band on July 30 (on sale today for $59.50-$199.50); and the very hot – especially since his Super Bowl appearance – Bruno Mars on Aug. 14 (ticket sales on now for $69.50-$139.50). All ticket sales are through Ticketmaster or ApeConcerts.com. If you’re interested in any of these shows, it’s wise to buy in advance.

In the meantime, classic rock fans can get their fill with WAR on Saturday at Harrah’s Tahoe (7:30 p.m.; $44; Ticketmaster).

Read more articles by Mel Shields

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