Live preview: Devotchka
The Denver band plays Highline Ballroom behind an emotive new album, 100 Lovers.
Mon Mar 14 2011
Photograph: Gary Isaacs
Highline Ballroom; Wed 23, Mar 24
When Devotchka last played New York, the Denver band performed in a circus tent that had been erected in Damrosch Park, which seems so apt a setting as to verge on redundancy. Even ignoring the overt big-top flourishes—the tubas and accordions, grainy Americana imagery and Gypsy hoo-ha—Devotchka draws upon a carnivalesque mentality. Most songs swing for the fences, as frontman Nick Urata injects his every line with an emotional urgency fit for a hormonal teenage girl, or even a member of Arcade Fire. On its new album, 100 Lovers, the effect yields moments of opulence, as Urata's croon, forever on the cusp of revelation, floats atop the band's well-plotted mesh. When they come to Highline Ballroom, the musicians, like good circus folk, tote a splashy opener: Mariachi El Bronx, a newfangled mariachi alter ego of the West Coast punk band named for the northernmost borough.—Jay Ruttenberg