The more I listen to Three For Silver, the carnival-barking, accordion-employing, vaguely steampunkish outfit that plays The Seasons Performance Hall on Thursday night, the more I like them.
They’re kind of a pastiche of old-timey styles — string-band, New Orleans jazz, gospel, sea shanty, Eastern European, Celtic — that nevertheless coheres. Sort of a poor man’s Decemberists mixed with, like, a poor man’s Pogues.
The results are quite varied. Listen to a random half-dozen Three For Silver songs and you’re likely to hear at least three or four distinctive styles. “Kill-Devil,” a rousing and rummy sailor’s lament sung by bassist Lucas Warford on the 2020 album “Red Moon,” comes on slow and sinister before taking a wholly enjoyable turn toward the ol’ stomp-’n’-shout. The title track from the same album, “Red Moon,” sounds like an entirely different band. With accordionist Willo Sertain singing an ethereal lead over a pulsating electronic rhythm, it’s almost an ’80s goth-New Romantic song.
My one hangup with the band, and it’s not their problem so much as mine, is the Tom Waits comparison. Virtually everything that’s been written about Three For Silver, including the bio on the band’s own website, mentions Waits. Bassist-vocalist Lucas Warford clearly is inspired by Waits — the famously tar-and-gravel-voiced troubadour of life’s romantic underbelly — but Warford’s voice isn’t done any favors when it’s compared to Waits’. In fairness, no one’s is.
It took me half an album before I stopped annoyedly thinking, “This isn’t Tom By God Waits and it never will be,” and started thinking, “It is actually pretty good, though.” I bring it up here as a sort of disclaimer. If you’ve read about Three For Silver and are expecting Tom Waits, that’s only going to get in the way of your enjoyment. I advise, instead, that you approach the band on its own merits.
If you go
What: Three for Silver with opener Cockaphonics
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches Ave.
Tickets: $20 main floor, $15 balcony, $60-$150 VIP tables