Photos: DeVotchKa, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks - Reverb

DeVotchKa, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks, 6-14-13 (photos, review)

Friday night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, DeVotchKa‘s two hour set paired perfectly with the night sky. Led by Nick Urata, the band’s heart-melting crooner, and paired with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, DeVotchKa played a set that cherry-picked songs from all across their history — which brought a feeling of nostalgia to the sold-out amphitheater. This was a grown-up crowd that was at first quiet and refined as the band played, applauding and whistling respectfully between tunes.

But once the gypsy-infused strains of DeVotchKa’s sound got under the audience’s skin this calm evaporated. An hour into the set, the audience began dancing almost uncontrollably, undulating as the music’s crescendos increased. Finally, the whole place was on its feet and begging for more.

Urata and his band sported a chimeric image between steamy rock stars and orchestral intellectuals, living effortlessly in both worlds. Beginning with “The Clockwise Witness,” the four-piece led the CSO through a journey of emotions. Sometimes it was  overwhelming as in the heart-wrenching “How It Ends,” and at other times the set was furiously ecstatic, like “Comrade Z,” and “All the Sand In All the Sea.”

The night held two climaxes for the entranced crowd. First was the huge and cathartic performance of “You Love Me.” On this song,  Amanda Palmer and Timur Bekbo joined the band and barely left a dry eye in the audience. Another came later, in a cover of the Velvet Underground’s seminal “Venus in Furs.” Performed so different, their version sounded almost nothing like the original – and yet it remained hypnotically irresistible.

DeVotchKa has carved a unique niche into music by mixing the gypsy mystique with folk and rock. But the band has also etched a spot specifically into Colorado music history, and Friday’s celebration of the band’s music is a testament of that legacy.

Set list:
The Clockwise Witness
Queen of the Surface Streets
The Common Good
Comrade Z
Along the Way
Firetrucks on the Boardwalks
Undone
Contrabanda
Music from the film “Ruby Sparks” (featuring Timur on vocals)
How It Ends
Venus In Furs
All the Sand In All the Sea
You Love Me

Encore
The Man from San Sebastian
‘Til the End of Time
The Enemy Guns

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Billy Thieme is a Denver-based writer, an old-school punk and a huge follower of Denver’s vibrant local music scene. Follow Billy’s explorations at DenverThread.com, and his giglist at Gigbot.

Michael McGrath is a Denver area photographer. His work is available at Twist and Shout Records. Visit his website.