Before I tell you how amazing Devotchka was at the Spiegeltent on Saturday night, you must know how they’ve graced my little heart. This show marked the three-year anniversary (okay, add four days) that Devotchka first played before my eyes in 2003. After starting to work at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado, it was my first show as an office intern and the first to expose me to a world of incredibly versatile music. Watching as this quartet painted the room with their matchless sound, it evoked emotions in me I never knew possible, confirming why live music is something I live for.
Devotchka soon became the band I would drop anything for when they came to Boulder, even if it meant hanging coats for all the lovebirds at the Valentine’s Day show. There was a time when every mix CD had to have “Queen Of The Surface Streets” on it, because something about Nick Urata’s voice backed by all the musical twists and turns makes me want to start a twirling-stomping-clapping parade.
With my summer New York adventure coming to a close, there was no better way to end it than at South Street Seaport with Devotchka. Entering the world-traveling Spiegeltent is like stepping into the 1920s with its surrounding mirrors, stained glass, and billowing velvet. The intimate feel of this venue so perfectly welcomed Devotchka to the stage as Jeanie Schroder’s sousaphone adorned with red lights set the mood.
One thing that always amazes me is how multi-instrumentally talented these four are, and how simple they make it seem. If I posted pictures of each time they switched to a new instrument, the transition between each image would only be half as smooth as it was in person. Just when you think Nick Urata singing and playing the guitar and bouzouki can’t get any better, he starts playing the theremin and could probably do it with his eyes shut. Tom Hagerman kicked off with the violin, wowing the audience as if it was his only craft, but quickly moved to the accordion. When he squeezed onto the piano nearly IN the crowd to play “How It Ends,” from How It Ends and the Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack, my world stopped like it usually does for that song. Aside from Jeanie Schroder’s amazing sousaphone sass, she plays the double bass and tops everything with her beautiful vocals. Then, there’s Shawn King, the drummer. Although the man makes some mean percussion tricks, it was great to see him get up and play the trumpet for “We’re Leaving.”
When a show starts at half past midnight and lasts two hours that only feel like one, that can only mean good things. The encore was amazing when Alex, the aerial acrobatic high-flying beauty, teased the crowd with her mid-air moves. How many shows have you been to where everyone has to make room in the middle of a “tent” for the lovely lady to climb up the cloths and strut her seductive acrobatics? I guess Devotchka sets me up for lots of “firsts.”
If you ever get a chance to visit the Spiegeltent, you must take it. If you haven’t seen Devotchka live, you better track them down. And if you haven’t seen Little Miss Sunshine yet, you might be missing your all-time favorite.
by Brit Horvat