Tuesday, August 22, 2006

DeVotchKa and the dying opera

The sun was descending during my first live experience with DeVotchKa. The open-air stage, backlit by the summer sky of muted pastels, stood atop the hill where the Getty Museum overlooks west Los Angeles. As heartbreaking as a Los Angeles sunset can be, with its miraculous neon reactions of smog and sun, the setting sun was more a backdrop to the theatrical live presentation of a band that beats life into the slowly dying art of music performance.

What seems to be a result of my age gaining momentum into its mid-20s, live shows have started to become less and less fulfilling, yet I am going more and more. I think the main reason for my consistent credit card bill, filled with Troubadour and Spaceland receipts, is a desire to observe that presentation of the sound, where the music becomes more a place of meaningful vacation rather than notes mismatched with glib banter of inane comments about alcohol levels and less than humble proclamations of gratitude.

As the polka bass beat began Devotchka’s set at the Troubadour, main man, Nick Urata, and multi-instrumentalist drummer-cum-trumpeter, Shawn King, were found in the rafters. Spotlight stunned, armed with brass amidst smiles of awkwardness, the two began the ringing melody of “La Llorona,” an old tune redone for the recent Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. All I could think of was how this is what live music is supposed to be like, a “show,” an experience where audience and performer communicate between applause and silence, spotlights and shouts. This is what I see when I close my eyes and listen to How It Ends, foreign verandas filled with lovers crooning and Romeos calling forth from the balconies to their long lost Juliets.

With “Til The End Of Time” being a possible contender for an Oscar nod this year for its place in Little Miss Sunshine, DeVotchKa might be able to demonstrate to the world how opera and world music do, in fact, have a place in modern pop music. The Content is praying.

[mp3] DeVotchKaTil The End Of Time (from Little Miss Sunshine OST)
[mp3] DeVotchKaThe Last Beat Of My Heart (from Curse My Little Heart EP)
[mp3] DeVotchKaThe Oblivion (from Una Volta!)

BONUS [mp3]
DeVothcKaVenus In Furs (Live) (Velvet Underground Cover)

Buy DeVotchKa here.


Anonymous Salem said...

The show was amazing. I didn't really know what to expect. I'd heard some of their music and had liked it, and I'd heard that they put on a great show, but I have to say that I was blown away. It was over and beyond anything I thought it would be...and I wasn't even drinking. I'm so glad I bought tickets long before it sold out. Funny thing, even though I'd seen the movie, I didn't even realize that they had done the soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine until they started playing "How It Ends". Then it all clicked. Funny how the free yellow LMS shirts didn't clue me off to begin with.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya, and to bad I didn't pick one up. I just thought that the opening band had an overstock or something. I had no idea they were free until I started thinking about it half way through their set. Bummer, I like yellow.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Lady Eneri said...

man this is the second time i missed them... so sad i was. I didn't think they were gonna sell out that show and as Salem mentioned, i too didn't know they did the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack... oh well next i'll catch them.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous mjrc said...

you love devotchka? well, that settles it. i'm adding you to my blog roll. : )

3:03 PM  

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