Saturday, September 13, 2008
The first thing I heard this morning was from a friend who said that she just overheard that DeVotchKa was playing a secret show at the Fox in Boulder. My first reaction was skepticism. Followed by, well, I should look into it. Of course the internet says nothing, because even if they are playing, they can't advertise it because they're under contract with the Monolith festival.
The only band listed is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a band out of New Orleans who are great in their own right, but very different from DeVotchKa. I head up to the box office to try and find something out, and sure enough, the "Back in 5 minutes" is up at the desk. So I mill around for 20 minutes and nothing...
BUT, there is hope, the record store guy says that yes, they are playing tonight as a warm-up for their show at Monolith tomorrow. I'm going to keep mentioning Monolith, so if you don't know what it is you should just look it up. I'm not going, but it's lots of great music.
I digress...So anyway, while I'm waiting at the box office, I see Tom, Nick, and Shawn from DeVotchKa unloading their stuff and heading into the theater. We have confirmation.
Long story even longer, I bought tickets and wait for the night. Turns out we actually ate in a restaurant by the Fox and sat right across from Tom and Shawn. While I am clearly revealing my uncoolness now by talking about it, I restrained myself from bothering them and just let it go.
So the Fox probably holds 3-400 people, tops, FAR less than any DeVotchKa show would ever bring in these days. They are big nationwide, but they are huge in Colorado, such that they play 2 nights typically when they do shows here now, and mostly at bigger venues like Boulder Theater and the Fillmore. So essentially they're just too big to ever see them in an intimate venue again. Unless...
Yes, back to my story. Sure enough DeVotchKa goes on at 9 p.m., plays an amazing hour long set, mostly new stuff, but also including Queen of the Surface Streets, How it Ends, You Love Me, and Enemy Guns. Probably missed one or two there. But nonetheless, there were at most 150 people there, I would say. It was like seeing them in Denver 6 years ago, which was the last time I saw them with such a small crowd. It is such a rare thing to luck into seeing something like this. You have an arena level band and you're seeing them in a small theater. It was just amazing. I had honestly tired of seeing them recently, because I just don't like the big crowds. Not their fault, but still, this was just what I needed. Tomorrow they'll be playing to thousands of weary festival goers, but tonight we got to see them with their friends and family and whomever else found out through word of mouth.
I won't say it changed my life. I won't say it was once in a lifetime. But I will say it was worth every penny of the $20 tickets and every minute of the 60 minute show they put on. As a music fan, these are the times that really stand out, and I have to say that this one will be up there with the others that I'll want to tell people about.
As a side note, great feature on the band in this week's Westword. They were on the cover of Westword and Colorado Daily this week. I won't just regurgitate the story here, but pretty great seeing what they have achieved after basically just doing their thing for so long.