It's always nice to see a band that respects its elders, and Denver's DeVotchKa has taken Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" promise "I wanna rock your gypsy soul" to heart. Finding the seam between Old World traveler tunes and contemporary indie-rock, the quartet (and a few friends) matched the energy of the full house in Warehouse Live's studio with nearly 90 minutes of full-tilt fiddling, plunking, blowing and strumming that barely stopped to catch its breath.
DeVotchKa has done its homework - for most of the set, they came off as the Gipsy Kings for Arcade Fire fans. With an opening foghorn, train-track drums and sun-baked guitar, the opener suggested what might have happened if Ennio Morricone had recruited the Decemberists to record the score for one of his Sergio Leone spaghetti-western soundtracks. Violinist Tom Hagerman played fireman, stoking the band's abundant energy with steady pizzicato and Bartok-like flourishes, while Jeanie Schroder kept a steady pulse alternating between acoustic bass and a sousaphone adorned with Christmas lights and a mini-strobe in the bell - a visual effect almost as cool as the band's catholic sound.
DeVotchKa is not completely stuck in the past, though. Tom Hagerman's choppy, slightly melancholy vocal and guitar melodies contained heavy doses of Radiohead and Death Cab for Cutie, which made a soft-and-sweet center for the whirling dervish - whether mariachi or Modest Mouse - going on around him. (Expect Coldplay to take them on tour any day now.) And by the way, after the Wild Moccasins and Los Campesinos!, Monday was the third indie show in a row Aftermath has been to that was sold-out - a local trend that, like the gypsy infiltration of Pitchfork Nation itself, deserves to continue.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.