ACL '09: Devotchka Warms Attendees With Its Wordly Charms

Though Nick Urata, front man for Denver-based gypsy folk-rock outfit Devotchka, joked that the only reason his band had a draw worth mentioning during its set at ACL's indoor Wildflower stage was because of the rain, consider his words simply a matter of humility.

Because, for the bulk of Devotchka's set, aside from a spattering of showers at its early evening start, the rain actually paused for the band's performance. No matter--the crowds still jammed themselves inside of the tent for a furious clap-along-fueled performance of the band's worldly, almost always enjoyable sounds.

And, as if the band's arsenal of instruments at its beck and call weren't enough, the band also offered fans another treat: a performance from a burlesque trapeze artist who, like a Cirque de Soleil performer, used twisted throngs of cloth around her extremities to pull herself upward and secure her position ten feet above the stage as she twirled and swooped and spun over Urata's head. It was only a short display, lasting no more than two songs, but it was a sign of the band going the extra mile--something more than appreciated on this otherwise largely lackluster day of performances. The crowd, already enthralled by Devotchka's own display, was only further encouraged by the stunt. And for the handful of songs that followed, the already vocal audience's hoots and hollers became more and more emphatic.

It was another standout performance of the festival, highlighted by Urata's deliberate guitar playing and impassioned Theremin tweaks, and capably adorned by the audience's own furious clapping. The smiles about the tent were proof enough of the band's successful offering--as were the disappointed shrugs that came when the band, already some ten minutes past its timeslot's end, waved its fans goodbye.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman