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DeVotchKa Live!

| July 26, 2006

Subterranean, Chicago
Friday, July 21, 2006

When a band arrives onstage bearing a Christmas light-bedecked tuba played by a woman, you know you’re in for a good time.

Matisyahu proved you can borrow traditional Jewish ideals (theologically and aesthetically) and make successful pop music, but DeVotchKa seem poised to challenge for so much more. The music they presented to Subterranean Friday night wasn’t indisputably Jewish, though its Gypsy tones straddled those historically interwoven effects. Like Calexico on a whirlwind tour through Budapest ghettos and on down the Danube, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, and Shawn King whipped through their set selling wares both chintzy and of extreme extrasensory potential.

While the group is based in Denver, Hagerman’s vocals felt immersed in Latin, mainly Spanish, overtones, cascading verse after verse in hyper-romantic sensuality amid the beer-soaked onlookers. Their pleasure came in torrid instrumental flourishes, challenging the vocalist to refine himself lest he be challenged again and eventually overcome. While the covers on this spring’s stunning *Curse Your Little Heart EP made case enough for DeVotchKa’s versatility, it was only when diving into their older catalog they could lose themselves as well and conjure new tones.

— Steve Forstneger

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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