I was intrigued by the musical setup of the Ballroom Thieves before they took the stage. Instead of putting the drums at the back, the three-piece band had each instrument placed beside each other in a neat line at the front of the stage; drums, guitar and cello from left to right. The reason behind this became quickly apparent to me when the group started playing- Ballroom Thieves is driven by rhythm.

Drummer Devin Mauch didn’t play a traditional kit. Instead, he pounded a bass line with his right hand, which gave him the freedom to literally jump out of his chair when songs got especially energetic. He kept his whiskey close by his side and advised the crowd to stretch in between songs lest they pull something. This was especially showcased in the foot-stomping “Down by the River,” which got the crowd roaring immediately. Mauch’s vibrancy was complimented by the earnestness of its lead singer, Martin Earley, and the cool mystique of cellist Calin Peters. Looking like a slightly hipster Keira Knightley, she smiled as if she had a secret and effortlessly wove sweet tenor and powerful bass lines throughout the songs.

The Ballroom Thieves kept the momentum going throughout the night. Self-described as “rock disguised by folk,” they softened the pounding beats with two and three-part harmonies. Pushed up near the stage on the floor of the Sinclair in Harvard Square, I was surrounded by mostly 20-something plaid-clad men who seemed to know every lyric and wholeheartedly shouted them along in between slugs of beer. Although the room wasn’t small, with high ceilings, a tall stage and multiple levels for the audience, the fans filled it up with numbers and enthusiasm.

At the end of the night, the three band members dismounted the stage and came into the middle of the crowd to do their last number acoustically. Although a risky move in a room the size of the Sinclair, it was natural with the audience that felt more like a group of friends than fans. The “Thieves” celebrated the release of a new EP (“The Ballroom Thieves EP”), their second after “The Devil & The Deep.” Tour dates can be found on their website ; this up and coming Boston band is definitely not one to miss.

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