Sunday, November 1, 2009
Halloween shows can be quite a funny event, considering that it can be hard to convince people to get dressed up in their costumes and then pay $35 to go see a band, when they could just as easily go to a friend's costume party for free. DeVotchKa, however, has quite a corner on the market when it comes to Halloween shows, and their regular Halloween night show in Boulder has grown to a two night affair, with the shows either being sold out or sufficiently full in the large Boulder Theater.
Seeing DeVotchKa's Halloween show on October 30th felt a little bit like going to church on Saturday morning or observing Veteran's Day on November 10th, if you know what I mean. Nonetheless, the band withheld no noticeable effort for the show, outfitting themselves in full Spanish matador costumes and playing an impeccable 90 minute set of both old and new material. Combine that with the top rate sound system of the Boulder Theater and the small army of sound crew accompanying the band, and it was quite easy to forget that it wasn't even Halloween night yet.
DeVotchKa is a band that has become so good at what they do, I think one can almost come to take for granted how refined and perfected their sound is. They were fortunate to find the right lineup early on in their progression as a band, and the ensemble of four incredibly dynamic musicians has produced some of the most important music that has come out of the Denver scene in the last decade. To add to that, they haven't removed themselves from the scene now that they are big time rock stars, as evidenced by drummer Shawn King's recent appearances at Everything Absent or Distorted's final show, as well as an appearance with the flash mob band known as Boba Fett and the Americans.
Bands take a certain gamble when they step outside of the basic rock formula, and in the case of DeVotchKa, the continued refinement of their Eastern European/Mariachi indie rock has paced them well ahead of many of their peers. It seems quite cliche to say so, but when you take the time to do things the right way, rather than following the quick and easy approach to success, the payoff in the end is that much better. I hope both the band and the fans can enjoy all DeVotchKa still has to offer us for many years to come.
(I welcome corrections to this set list. It may be a bit shaky on the instrumental songs, but this is fairly close to what they played.)
The Enemy Guns
Queen of the Surface Streets
Along the Way
Venus in Furs
How it Ends
Viens Avec Moi
Such a Lovely Thing
You Love Me