Thursday, March 24, 2011
Despite some issues with the sound system the show was one of the best I've seen this year. The crowd was tame, but it made for plenty of dancing room for me and my cohort. Even as I am writing this, I am shaking my head and humming the songs though it's been hours upon hours since the music stopped. The set list was everything I could've hoped for and more. It was a healthy mix of their entire catalog and included some choice tracks off of their newest album, "100 Lovers". (Side note: I find the new album very crisp with a slight modern-sounding edge to it I hadn't detected in their previous work before.) The few tracks that they'd chosen to perform that night harmonized beautifully with their more classic hits.
The show itself was certainly more stripped down than the previous shows I've seen from Devotchka, but I felt it was a pleasant change of pace. It allowed me to focus more on their musical prowess and not be distracted superfluous flash. That is not to say that there wasn't SOME flash. There were some key moments during the set, where the sudden appearance of scantily clad silhouettes began a sultry dance to entice us- not to mention the dames in their britches spinning large white umbrellas. Though these little ladies were very welcome, for me, Devotchka's musical talent was the real show stopper. I've never seen such a wide variety of instruments switched on and off between songs in my life. Jeanie went from sousaphone, to upright bass, and to flute with merely a subtle bat of the lashes to indicate a shift. I watched in utter captivation as the drummer Shawn wailed away on his trumpet from behind the drum set- while still maintaining a beat! Not to mention the musical shapeshifting of Tom who went from piano to accordion to violin so quickly I never even saw the switch occur!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
|Beautiful, Isn't She?|
|She always had the best shoes...|
The music was inspiring, and hearing those songs live will reverberate for me for many years to come. Music without words become a soundtrack to my everyday life. I get to add my own heart and voice to the songs. I am allowed to provide my own visualizations, it's something I get to be a part of without violating the integrity of the song for someone else.
Zoe is a kind creative force of nature to be reckoned with. Her upbeat words and enthusiasm between her songs complemented her deliciously layered music. I felt welcomed and comforted. I noticed almost immediately how she and Todd Reynolds were incredibly similar, in that when the song was done she was snapped back into the room with us, as if she never traveled out of it. Then BOOM she would drag her bow across her instrument, and drag her right foot across the controls, and she was gone again.
I'm proud to say I traveled with her on these journeys.
|YES I got to meet her!|
Some Choice Tracks from my recollection:
Exurgency.Tetrishead. Frozen Angels.
Escape Artist. Seven League Boots. Optimist.
Beethoven's 2nd Movement (I think? Some classical buff please correct me if I am wrong!)
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Todd Reynolds, as far as I'm concerned- without any knowledge of instrumental compositions- was a total success. He put me at ease with one smile and had me at the edge of my seat while he played. His passion for the music turned on and off like a bipolar switch. It was an expertly designed and interesting concert.
Todd's playfulness was further amplified when he invited a random person from the audience to do a little improv music with him. What happened next, piqued my interest beyond belief. As the young man, who we learned was named Trevor took to the stage, Todd unveiled an odd looking white box covered in shallow round-edged square buttons. Todd smiled and asked Trevor if he had any musical experience. When Trevor responded with a "Yes", Todd smiled and said something along the lines of "Well, forget it!" and then asked if Trevor had ever played with a Lite Brite as a kid and likened the instrument to one (at the phrase Lite Brite, an entire generation gasped in nostalgic glee).
What happened next, was remarkable. Trevor was instructed to hit a button on the little white box (we later learned it was called a "Menome"). The single button instantly lit up while a sequence at the top began to blink and strum notes that sounded a lot like violin chords. An improv jam of sorts commenced with Trevor playing on the little white contraption while Todd switched between plucking his violin like a ukulele & a more traditional stance of playing. It was so interesting, light hearted, fun... and it actually SOUNDED GREAT!
I may have entered a stranger to Todd Reynolds and his unique sound, but I left, a fan.
This is a 15 second blip from a song titled "Crossroads"
which was my favorite track of the night.
which was my favorite track of the night.