Denver’s music scene can be described in a few different ways, but the word that describes most Denver artists is professional. Classy clothing and obscure instruments create a certain sort of elegance that is only present in our East-Coast inspired, western city.
The torch-bearers of professionalism in the Denver scene is the band Devotchka. Following their explosion of popularity after their work on the soundtrack for the 2006 film “Little Miss Sunshine,” Devotchka became the epitome of class and professionalism. The band continued that trend at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, Colo., on Thursday night.
Devotchka and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra play Red Rocks Thursday night. The two played after Airborne Toxic Event opened. (CU Independent/Patrick Fort)
In comparison to opener Airborne Toxic Event, Devotchka was infinitely more compelling. The opener’s set seemed to be stagnant and lifeless. ATE’s set was fine, however, the band’s brand of rock seemed to be boring and inappropriate for the venue and time.
Following an entirely lackluster performance by ATE, Devotchka took to the stage. They were not alone though. Backed by the illustrious Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Devotchka blazed through almost two hours of technically and sonically impressive music.
As dusk fell into darkness and the fleeting days of summer fell into a brisk night, Devotchka took its time warming up to the crowd. Excluding his primordial wails, frontman Nick Urata kept quiet. There were no between-song talk breaks, no cheesy jokes, just music. The band kept the show moving and was very efficient in making sure that there were no long breaks for the audience to come down off of their musical buzz.
With the symphony in the background, ATE seemed to not take full advantage of the instrumentation that could have brought more energy and intensity to their songs. Devotchka, on the other hand, took full advantage of this, though it could have been a result of having more time with the symphony because it was the headliner.
Perhaps the highlight of the night came when there was no singing from Urata. Famous for their instrumental pieces, Devotchka used its backing symphony to help bolster an already impressive piece. “Comrade Z,” a technically challenging song, was executed flawlessly thanks to the trumpet section of the orchestra. The tonal intensity of the brass instruments pierced the audience.
Yet, there was one song that was inexplicably missing from Devotchka’s set. “Till the End of Time” was oddly left out and would have been a guaranteed sing-along.
Overall, Devotchka provided an intense and rousing show. Each member played numerous instruments, including a personal favorite, the bouzouki. With such a dynamic range of talents in the band, it is almost impossible for Devotchka to not deliver an incredible show. Even for a Colorado transplant like me, Devotchka has become one of my favorite bands and is something that will always make me proud to live here.
Even though it won’t make you get up and dance, you will feel the band’s emotions, and you will be enthralled through the entirety of the performance. Devotchka will also be playing two nights at the Boulder Theater in October so be sure to check it out.
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