Photos and review by Victoria Holt
On Saturday, October 20th, DeVotchKa graced the Moore Theatre with their transcendent, romantic instrumentation for the City Arts Festival. Singer Nick Urata cooed lyrics of love, loss, and exploration of the inner self, transporting the packed audience to a nostalgic place. A few crowd members could barely contain themselves, standing up in the aisles and swaying, and two people danced in an orchestra box above. Jeanie Schroder stood to Urata’s left, looking regal as she played double bass and sousaphone, grinning all the while. Her flowing red sleeves perfectly complemented her steady movements. Tom Hagerman was on accordion, piano, and violin, and Shawn King manned the drums and trumpet. At one point someone yelled out, “I like your accordion!” and Hagerman laughed and thanked the anonymous admirer.
The band was accompanied by the glorious Seattle Rock Orchestra. This added a full foundation of sound to a performance of already epic proportions. Hagerman’s accordion was beautifully embellished by the strings section throughout, and on “First Push” (from the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack) the latter played the infamous whistle notes along with Urata. The strings also contributed heavily to “Undone,” from 2008’s A Mad & Faithful Telling, providing a wave of dramatic notes.
“You Love Me,” a heartbreaking ode to a past lover, sounded all the more wistful and lonely as the vocals reverberated around the room, deep guitar twangs resonating. “All the Sand in the Sea” from 2011’s 100 Lovers featured fast paced piano and rollicking drums, a more electronic contrast to an otherwise guitar and brass-heavy set. The night would not have been complete without listener favorite “How It Ends,” buffered by deep cellos and basses, the orchestra growing into a whirl of sound at the end. It’ll be hard to find a better match for the Seattle Rock Orchestra!