Clare & the Reasons - Although it may have been the gold decor and decorative outfits, I would like to think that the music itself took me deep into David Lynch territory. It is as if the girl in the radiator's daughter came to fruition in the post-Joanna Newsome world. This is just a little too eerie and twisted for anyone to call it cute. Clare handles lead vocals and plays guitar or banjo with a couple of guys that bounce around between bass, guitar, and keyboards. A drummer sneaks in later on, but does not play much. At their best, they continue to lay down a hypnotic set with clean sounds that are capable of evoking mysteries beneath. Reality crept in a few times (I wondered why one of the guys' vocal mic was down a bit, until I heard his patter and realized it wasn't down enough), which was a downer, but overall the magic won out and this is a band to keep an eye on. And from what I learned, a return visit to DC may happen soon. Information forthcoming in the Recommended shows section.
DeVotchKa - This highly successful Colorado band has had the misfortune with me of coming in well behind some other fantastic Colorado bands to my mind (Woven Hand, 16Hp, Slim Cessna, Munly, etc.). I have seen them once before and enjoyed the show, but it seemed a little on the light side. It started that way again as Nick Urata led a large ensemble into DeVotchKa's worldly music. The band is Urata on vocals, guitar, bouzouki, etc. along with drums, stand-up bass/sousaphone, and a violinist/accordion player. They were joined with a six-piece orchestra featuring more strings and some winds. The orchestra was a little too heavy early on with only the vocal work standing with it. This may have been due to the sound or song selection, but whatever the case, things moved into more interesting territory slowly but surely. The set grew steadily as the more worldly rock elements from the three standard rock instruments worked their way into the mix. The vocal work was excellent as expected and seemed to pick it up a notch as well. They even did well with a guitar that cut out. The audience picked up on it and started clapping to keep the energy until he left the electric and moved onto acoustic while keeping everything going. Nicely handled and this only continued to show the buildup of this set into a highly satisfying conclusion. This elegant sense of drams inherent in their music and their performance tonight made this an enjoyable evening. It took a while, but they have pulled me deeper into their music.
Quote of the Night: Clare... "What is a banjo in tune, but a myth."