DeVotchka at the Independent
The members of DeVotchka are not so much musicians as they are mad scientists of music. These virtuosos all play multiple instruments to create DeVotchka's unique blend of Eastern European, American roots and South American music, spiced with sprinkles of punk and folk. Singer Nick Urata plays guitar and theremin; drummer Shawn King also plays trumpet; Tom Hagerman divides his time between accordion and violin; and Jeannie Schroeder handles upright bass and tuba. Yes, tuba. Decorated with pink Christmas lights, no less.
Rumor has it the Denver-based quartet played in San Francisco coffee shops for years. I say "rumor has it" because I am a jane-come-lately to the DeVotchka party, and I didn't know about them during their coffee shop era. Ann Marie showed me the way me last year after she and another friend randomly caught DeVotchka during Noise Pop. Ann Marie and I then took in their show at the Independent last summer, and I was hooked. The place was about half-full, but DeVotchka's fans were wildly passionate.
Well, what a difference a year makes.
DeVotchka devotees are still crazy for the group, but there are now a lot more of them. The Independent was sold out on Thursday night, with barely room to move. I hadn't been sure I was up for a crowded club barely a week after surgery, but much like The Loved Ones show I shouldn't have attended, the music made it all worth it. As I've said before, truly talented musicians make the world a better place. And DeVotchka is so good, I shudder to think of the morass of no-good that would overrun the globe without them.
In other news, I had planned to enjoy an entire evening at home last night, but instead, Joey and I popped by the pub near work for a cocktail and to say hi to the kids. Everyone was there: Patrick, Mary, Greg, Karen, Judy and, of course, our favorite bartender, Crabby. Drinks in hand, Joey and I chatted with Crabby about music, and I played some game called "1, 4, 24" with Patrick and a new gentleman named Doug. I won an early round, which sucked me in so I could lose the next several. Ah, well, what're gonna do? It was still fun. I was home by 10:00, but I learned that after taking a break from alcohol, three vodka-sodas can go to your head pretty fast.
And finally, I got an unsolicited little treat this morning. While not at all bad, the neighborhood I walk through as I make my way to work is an area where you wouldn't expect to see much more than debris from Friday night's debauchery at 8:45 on a Saturday morning. But this morning I noticed a decent sized dog pulling his owner along for their morning walk. It was the dog that caught my attention, but as my gaze worked its way up the dog's leash, I noticed the man attached to it. And let me tell you, he was extremely cute. Plus, he looked me in the eye and offered a very friendly hello. Nothing happened after that, but when you don't expect it, hello from a good-looking gentleman can be a morning pick me up.
As a consequence, I now resolve to keep a more open mind about my work neighborhood. And who knows, maybe this guy will have to walk his dog again tomorrow.