DeVotchKa @ Bowery Ballroom, 9/14/12

DeVotchKa, who I only learned of last month, were an instant hit for me. The band’s sound involves the combination of gypsy and opera influences with folk rock to create a perfect storm. The Colorado-based group brought their tour to NYC for three nights, the first of which I caught at Bowery Ballroom. It’s in support of last year’s album, 100 Lovers. I came away from it all feeling quite content.

Clare & the Reasons were the sole support act tonight, and an example of a real bullseye for an opener. They are a four piece pop act with a notable synth that simulates classical melodies. Couple that with the alluring songstress who fronts the band, and you have a pleasing sound. Listening to their latest LP, KR-51, which they primarily played from, solidified my interest in them as a keeper.

A four piece normally, DeVotchKa on this tour expanded to a cast of eleven. Primarily, the additions were on horn and strings to have an actual orchestra on stage, an impressive feat for a rock band. When playing this way, every sound is traceable to an individual instrument. Another highlight was the few songs where an opera singer joined the band on stage to provide backing vocals and some really sultry dancing that heightened the mood and reminding us New Yorkers that it’s okay to let loose at a concert sometimes.

One hallmark of a successful band is its ability to touch you at both ends of the spectrum. This is something that DeVotchKa does really well in a live setting. One song you’re dancing to a furious tempo, and then later on swaying to woeful words. This show was like a journey through all life’s highs and lows, and one I’d repeat again.

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About John Harrison

John Harrison is a music afficionado and web developer in Hoboken, New Jersey.
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