SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo By Mary Sledd


Velvet Spade Patio, Thursday, March 16

Chances are if you hear "gypsy, indie rock, and European folk" used to describe a band, you're in store for one of two things: a confused pile of crap, or something transcendent. Last SXSW, Denver's DeVotchKa provided the latter, converting those in attendance with their self-described "Eastern-bloc indie rock." The Denver quartet – Jeanie Schroder, sousaphone, upright bass, vocals; Shawn King, drums, percussion, trumpet; Tom Hagerman, violin, accordion, piano; and Nick Urata, vocals, theremin, guitars, bouzouki, piano, and trumpet – did the same here, although this year's eager audience shouted out requests. Quaffing from a bottle of red wine before their set, the quartet hit the angular patio stage to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Offering 11 songs from their three albums, including the nearly perfect How It Ends and just-finished EP of covers, Curse Your Little Heart, DeVotchKa demonstrated once again why they're one of those indescribable bands worth your time. Energetic and organic, emotional and original, the band closed with the one-two-three punch of a Siouxsie & the Banshees cover, plus "The Enemy Guns" and "Such a Lovely Thing." A waning gibbous moon gazed through clouds over DeVotchKa's showcase, occasionally sending out shimmering silver beams. Urata's voice, a heart-wrenching stream of minor-key passion, and the whole of DeVotchKa's music is the same. Light shining in the dark.

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