Photos and review: Devotchka at Clyfford Still Museum opening night - Reverb

Live review: DeVotchKa @ Clyfford Still Museum opening night

Take note well-heeled readers of The New Yorker, you upper-crusters and Upper East Siders: there’s a magnificent new art structure that can’t be found on Museum Mile or anywhere near the shadow of the Empire State building. The Clyfford Still Museum opened with a nice balance of East Coast pomp and Rocky Mountain mellow in Denver on Saturday night.

In fact, in the temporarily-erected tent across the street from the gorgeous concrete mass, a befuddling banner hung welcoming guests to New York City … on 13th Avenue in Denver.

Grey-haired men in tuxedos brushed shoulders with fashionable young ladies as DeVotchKa took the stage as party band. It was a wonderful choice for a gathering of this range, most especially because the Baltic-style troupe is a hometown export. When frontman Nick Urata half-drunkenly took the stage, wine bottle in hand, Governor John Hickenlooper walked up to catch a few tunes and the Colorado pride was tangible.

DeVotchKa did nothing too surprising but its performance was a not-so-subtle reminder that the group is extremely talented and multi-faceted. An incomplete list of instruments used Friday night: guitars, an upright bass, keyboards, an accordion, a violin and a trumpet. Belting out “Head Honcho” from 2008’s break-out “A Mad and Faithful Telling,” the group did it’s best to rise above a not-ideal acoustic scenario. By the time the crew jammed out “The Clockwise Witness” later in its set, you could be as proud of this Denver artistic institution as the Still Museum.

A quick word about the museum and the man who inspired it: It’s a lock-step, enthralling match. Architect Brad Cloepfil’s concrete evokes the same kind of sense of falling and flow that Still did at his best. It’s great to have finally given him a proper home.

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Colin St. John is a Denver-based writer and merrymaker. Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog.

Quoleena Sbrocca is a Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. Visit her website here.