Devotchka Cast Their Spell Upon First Avenue


Some say relationships that start on a high note are doomed to fail. After all how does one keep the flames going high without burning out? Well my relationship with Devotchka seemed headed that way. A couple of years ago, I went to their show knowing not much about them and fell head over heels. Not being content with that the band gave me one of my coolest experiences at First Ave when they brought out a team of aerialists who left the crowd stunned. To this date when “Venus in Fur” comes up on my playlist I remember with a smile.

Sunday Devotchka returned with a new album ”This Night Falls Forever”and I was eager for our second date?

Walking into First Ave my eyes wandered to the ceiling – no rings, no ropes…….. sigh. Where’s the romance? Am I being taken for granted?

Orkestaa Mendoza was up first – another “new to me” band. The phrase “Latin Party Band” sums it up perfectly, yet at the same time doesn’t do them justice. Originally formed as a tribute band to Pérez Prado the  “King of Mambo”, they pushed outside their mambo comfort zone. With all but the bass player lined up at the edge of the stage it was hard to pay attention to just one of the energetic performers. The band just released a new album for the tour with Devotchka. Curve ball of the night, was their cover of “Tusk”. Their set was rewarded with what I feel was the loudest and longest applause I recall for an opening band at First Ave.

Devotchka chose to start it slow with “The Alley” building their complex weave of instruments with 2 percussionists before Nick Urata’s distinctive voice started to work its magic. There is a gipsy in the bands music and First Ave quickly fell under the band’s spell. The set list blended the new album with their impressive catalogue and a Psychedelic Furs cover “Love My Way”.  I lost count of the instruments played – Jeanie Shroder fielded at least 4 in the “heavy weapons squad” and upright bass, electric bass, sousaphone and flute. Listening to Devotchka is a bit like looking at a painting and finding new brush strokes each time you look at it.

Not having heard ”This Night Falls Forever” before I enjoyed their new material. “My Little Despot” was probably my favorite. For their encore, Devotchka went back to their 2004 album and what is probably their best known song “How it Ends”. All said, I was not the least bit disappointed, and truly enjoyed myself.  So Devotchka, I’m up for a third date, but should be ever get engaged, there better be some acrobatics!

Set List: The Alley / Angels / Let Me Sleep / Along the Way / 100 Other Lovers / Contrabanda / All the Sand in all the Sea / Head Honcho / The Clockwise Witness / Break Up Song / My Lil Despot / Love My Way / Straight Shot / Love Letters / The Enemy Guns / Basso Profundo / Empty Vessels   Encore: How It Ends / Ranchero