For a band like Denver's DeVotchKa, whose enigmatic sound is rarely articulated fairly in print, live gigs offer a chance to provide at least an intimation to virgin audiences.
Yet by the time DeVotchKa's surging assault of Slavic and Spanish styles -- via cello, trumpet, violin, accordion and raging guitar -- has slapped its listeners upside the head, they're often too startled to push the band into any kind of a label. DeVotchKa front man Nick Urata, the band's only constant since its beginnings in Chicago, summarizes the quartet's melting pot of influences as one nomadic and precarious subculture: "The Gypsy Life."
"The Gypsies influenced so many styles -- from Jewish music to Greek, Spaniards and Eastern Europeans," says Urata, an Italian-American and native New Yorker. "I think our sound is what came out of all that. All those different genres come kind of naturally for us."
Nita's Hideaway, 3300 South Price in Tempe
Scheduled to perform with Fatigo on Thursday, December 18. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7. Call 480-966-7715 for more information. The band will also perform at the Burlesque (xxxMas) show, featuring Catherine D'Lish, on Friday, December 19, at the Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill in Tempe. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $22, ages 21 and up. Call 480-829-0707 for more information.
DeVotchKa's latest release, Una Volta, the follow-up to their daring and raw 2000 debut SuperMelodrama, keeps the band's burgeoning cult audience grasping for the music's origins while serving up an even crisper sound. While DeVotchKa's pop innovation may leave newbies scratching their heads, it's successfully got the loyalists craving more.
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