DeVotchKa performing on Halloween has become an annual event. The show on Saturday proved why the Holiday and the band are a perfect combination.
The majority of the crowd were in costumes to celebrate the night. The best ones were Joy from Inside Out, Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, and multiple Dudes from The Big Lebowski (on second thought it was Boulder so maybe they were just dressed as themselves).
Gipsy Moon, a band from Nederland, Colorado started their set with the opening chords of The Addams Family Theme Song. They were dressed as the characters from the creepy and kooky television show. The lead singer, Mackenzie Page dressed as Morticia Addams, vocals went from a whisper to a howl as she strummed on the guitar and the Banjo. The lead guitarist, Silas Herman dressed as Gomez Addams, showed off his Mandolin chops that filled in the roller coaster Bluegrass rhythm driven by the Cellist, Andrew Conley, dressed as Wednesday Addams complete with pig tails. The Bassist, Matt Cantor dressed as… possibly Cousin Itt due to his beard, rounded out the gypsy folk sound nicely.
The next band up was SHEL composed of the four Holbrook sisters from Fort Collins, Colorado. The name is a acronym for Sarah, Hannah, Eva, and Liza. Their sound is a little more on the pop side, but since Hannah plays the violin and Eva plays the mandolin they were a good fit for the line up. Their best known song, “Your Could Be My Baby” featured a top hat wearing Eva on vocals with a haunting melody. A gold jump suited Hannah introduced a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore” with a funny story about a chance encounter with Robert Plant at an Airport Bookstore. An unexpected beatbox solo from drummer Liza dressed a a pirate or Han Solo (Is there a difference?) was a fun surprise. They are currently recording an album with Dave Stewart from The Eurythmics in Nashville.
The main event started with ghoulish burlesque dancers known as the Slavic Sisters performing on aerial rings as DeVotchKa’s European Punk Polka Music started to build. The band had the same make up as the dancers, but instead of lingerie they had on top hats and tails. Corpse Brides assisted the dancers as they spun around on rings above the band’s accordion and surf rock guitar solos.
Tom Hagerman is the back bone of the band playing violin, accordion, and piano. His style of playing along with Nick Urata’s romantic worldly vocals can be described as Dracula in a band in 2015. Jeanie Schroder on sousaphone and Shawn King on drums complete DeVotchKa’s unique sound. I almost forgot the band were from Denver until Urata spoke in an American Accent between songs. More unique textures were made by Nick Urata playing the theremin which is that weird instrument used in The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations.”
|All You Need Is Love and Balloons|
Their best known song “How It Ends” broke the crowd into a sing along. At that moment, the Slavic Sisters were brought back for The Beatles cover of “All You Need Is Love” complete with large crowd surfing balloons.
The night ended with a polka that had the audience stomping their feet. Some masked wearing spectators participated in Greek Style Dance circles while others were just bobing up and down to the music. Okay the crowd was drunk. Nick Urata stated it best during the performance, “We love playing on Halloween because DeVotchKa is Halloween.”