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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 11, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 10
Stunning DeVotchKa livens up Paramount
Arts & Entertainment
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Stunning DeVotchKa livens up Paramount

by Jessica Price - SGN Contributing Writer

DeVotchKa
March 5
Paramount Theatre


In support of their stunning new album 100 Lovers, DeVotchKa made a stop at Seattle's Paramount Theatre to an adoring crowd last weekend. 'The Alley,' the album's majestic opener, kicked off a set laden with older favorites, covers, and a generous selection of new material. DeVotchKa is a dream for music writers with the abundance of adjectives they bring to mind, starting with ruggedly handsome Nick Urata and his effortlessly soaring vocals. (All four multi-instrumentalists dressed in black, with only Nick and tuba player Jeanie Schroder punctuating the formality with a passionate jolt of red). Their music dips into dramatic waters - expansive and wild, poetic and serious, exhilarating and heartbreaking all at once. 'All the Sand in All the Sea' and 'The Man From San Sebastian' bewitched alongside epic songs made famous by the Grammy-nominated Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack ('How It Ends') and A Mad and Faithful Telling ('Undone').

DeVotchKa mines musical ground more refined and less single-genre-obsessed than other bands categorized as gypsy punk. Since their debut in 2000, they have continued to glide between elements of mariachi, folk music, and Eastern European throw-downs (DeVotchKa translates to 'little girl' in Russian). Unsurprisingly, the band's set ran the style spectrum at the Paramount. 'We're Leaving' was followed by several songs which recalled the band's former days touring with burlesque variety shows (they once backed Dita Von Teese). Two sultry aerialists scurried up black silk 'ropes' hanging from the ceiling and hung suspended over the band while twisting and dropping dramatically at pivotal moments. They later returned, hidden behind screens backlit to show only a pair of shimmying shadows. Throughout the show, three simple screens projected grainy desert images and photographs of striking Spanish dancers or elegant ladies in silhouette fawning over necklaces and jewels.

'Exhaustible' and 'How It Ends' were cinematic and triumphant; '100 Lovers' with pristine flute by Jeanie Schroder lightened things up before the thunderous finale of 'The Enemy Guns.' For the encore, Nick Urata reappeared, taking a deep slug from a bottle of wine lifted to toast the audience. The 20-something song set wound down with a plaintive, pretty cover of Neil Young's 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart,' followed by widespread (and somewhat amusing) approximations of folk dancing by the audience for 'Such a Lovely Thing.'

If DeVotchKa did not exist, the world of music would be a much paler, less interesting place. With 100 Lovers - arguably their most solid and well-crafted record yet - DeVotchKa is poised for even wider success worldwide and on the festival circuit this summer.

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