Photos: DeVotchKa at the Paramount Theatre - Reverb

DeVotchKa at the Paramount Theatre on Valentine’s Day (photos, review)

The melodrama of DeVotchKa performing in the opulent Paramount Theatre on Valentine’s Day crafted a romantic trifecta. One of Denver’s highest-climbing indie bands pulled out all the stops, including a Cirque de Soleil-like sideshow of scantily clad young women scaling red sashes for some sexy aerial dancing.

DeVotchKa isn’t simple to categorize, but “gypsy punk” and “dark cabaret” are labels that stick. Their rousing ethnic set created a sonic travelogue with world beats ranging from Mexican mariachi-inspired sounds to Eastern European folk frenzies. DeVotchKa accelerated through a joyous and melancholy set with minimal banter and a lot of remarkable music.

Nick Urata carried vocals almost singlehandedly. Urata warbled, wailed and crooned, his powerful vocals and unusual phrasing shaped the songs with intense emotion. He included his homage to Prince, whom he credited as a DeVotchKa influence.

The word “DeVotchKa” is Russian for “girl” or “young woman,” and the female in the band is the versatile Jeanie Schroder. The talents of Tom Hagerman and Shawn King round out DeVotchKa. Thursday night’s show included a second percussionist; and two additional horn players who joined the band for several numbers.

At any given time on stage, the players took up not only typical guitars, drums and keyboards, but also obscure percussive instruments, upright bass, accordion, violin, flute, theremin, bouzouki, Melodica and sousaphone: not your average combos.

And the DeVotchKa crowd is unusual, too. Quirky devotees turned out in top hats, fishnet stockings, sequined gowns, feather boas. DeVotchKa rewarded fans with an encore that included three songs. Appropriately, DeVotchKa closed with “How It Ends,” their break-out song used in a Gerber commercial.
The Valentine show had an extra, underlying heartbeat: the concert was a fund-raiser for Bonfils Blood Center.

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Colleen Smith, a longtime contributor to The Denver Post, is the author of “Glass Halo”—a novel set in Denver–and “Laid-Back Skier,” both by Friday Jones Publishing.

Ryan Dearth is a Denver-based photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.

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