SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., March 18, 2011
DevotchkaLustre Pearl, Thursday, March 17
Tonight's set was all about the party, a wise choice on the band's part given that the packed crowd was fully marinated in green beer by the time 10pm rolled around. Kicking things off with "Head Honcho," from 2008's A Mad & Faithful Telling, the Denver group said little, merely letting the songs do the work for them. Alternating tunes from the recently released 100 Lovers ("The Common Good," "All the Sand in All the Sea") and Mad & Faithful, Devotchka wowed the audience with their multi-instrumental virtuosity. Indeed, to watch Jeanie Schroder's fingers fly over the strings of the upright bass is a sight to behold. In his own nonverbal nod to the occasion, frontman Nick Urata uncorked a bottle of red wine with his mouth, spat the cork into the crowd, and chugged with gusto. After the mariachi-flavored "Bad Luck Heels," with drummer Shawn King coming out from behind the kit to play trumpet, and the dark, rangy "The Man From San Sebastian," the outfit closed with a gypsy hootenanny featuring electric bouzouki. While the set lacked the romance of a more intimate Devotchka set, no St. Patrick's Day may ever be complete without a wee bit o' gypsy theremin.