By Lucien Flores, MUSE Staff Writer
On April 7, DeVotchKa played an acoustic and intimate opening set for The Magnetic Fields at the Berklee Performance Center. The Colorado-based outfit transformed Paradise Rock Club into a multinational party with their influences of Eastern-European, Latin and Western Rock music.
Aside from the traditional guitar, bass, drums and piano, DeVotchKa brought along a bouzouki, theremin, sousaphone, accordion and violin for a memorable night. While that concert was a romp, the Berklee affair was subdued in comparison. Even so, the band still captivated audiences.
The acoustics of the venue brought out the delicacies of DeVotchKa’s music, from the haunting croon of Nick Urata’s voice to the subtleties of Tom Hagerman’s accordion and violin. The only member of the trio to suffer from the acoustic transformation was drummer and trumpet player Shawn King, who had to replace his kit with a minimalist drum pad set-up. The electronic faux drums also clashed with DeVotchKa’s intimate sound, but King made sure it wasn’t a distraction.
DeVotchKa entertained the older aged Berklee audience for 45 minutes. Songs such as the sinister “The Enemy Guns” and the bilingual “Head Honcho” were standouts of the night; however, the band never made it to their Indie-classic, “How It Ends.” Another hit unfortunately missing from the night’s set list because of the acoustic limitations was the band’s standout Eastern-European romps.
Despite the strong performance, DeVotchKa is a band that must be seen in full force. To those who have experienced seeing the band live, the show was a tease. The band proved their musicianship with the stripped-down set, but they were deprived of true musical freedom; gone from their set was the jack-of-all-trades, Jeanie Schroder, as well as many of the eclectic instruments that make DeVotchKa so fascinating. King’s percussion will also shine better in an environment in which he can leave the electric kit behind and truly propel the band forward.
DeVotchKa is not a band to be missed and their opening set for The Magnetic Fields instilled a taste of the band’s unique brand of Indie-rock to the audience. Yet, this was only a mere taste; so be sure to see them on their next headlining tour for the full course.