DeVotchKa On Performing with CSO July 23

| July 17, 2015


by Tim Wenger

This is what it’s like when worlds collide. DeVotchKa, one of Denver’s premiere rock n roll powerhouses who have been at forefront of Denver’s scene as well as touring nationally for over a decade, will share the stage for the 4th time with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, July 23. Now, for those familiar with DeVotchKa’s style, an accompaniment with the CSO might not sound too far-fetched- these classically trained rockers have a sound that is defined through heavy instrumentation (the group uses everything from piano and accordion to horns and even a sousaphone in certain songs) and a somewhat avant garde way of incorporating front man Nick Urata’s wide vocal range over top. But in a concert setting, their sound coerced with the CSO is an event that will redefine the way you think about live music presentation.

“We’re just ecstatic that they’ve asked us back each year,” says Urata. “We originally thought it would be a one-off thing, so to be able to do it a fourth time is pretty magical.” DeVotchKa’s first performance with the orchestra took place in Boettcher Concert Hall, a show release inside the home of the CSO that was recorded for. By moving the event to Red Rocks, however, the stunning natural setting and acoustics of the venue have added a whole new element to the performance.

The orchestra, still conducted by Scott O’Neil, has remained largely the same, but the event has grown each year, so for those of you who caught the show last year, don’t count on a repeat. DeVotchKa strives to keep the show fresh- this year they have added a new set of songs to the already impressive set list. “Each time we’ve gone a little deeper,” Urata says. “We’re familiar enough with the material that we’re really able to dig deep and give it the performance that it needs.”

There were, however, challenges in the process of putting their songs together with the orchestra. “It wasn’t love at first sight,” Urata says. “But our music sort of naturally fit into this realm. We had been expanding our arrangements over the last couple of albums,” says Urata. “Of course a string quartet is a lot different than a symphony orchestra but it has helped us. We all come from orchestra backgrounds.” Kinks have been worked out and as the years have gone by, the two entities have been able to hone their performance.

Followers of the CSO have undoubtedly noticed a drastic increase in the variety of their programming over the past few years. This event with DeVotchKa is only one of several performances the symphony is doing with fellow Denver musicians this year including Megan Burtt and friends, Gregory Alan Isakov, and more. DeVotchKa violinist Tom Hagerman actually wrote the score for the CSO’s performance with Ian Cooke and Land Lines earlier this summer. “We’d always had friends who were players in the orchestra that collaborated with us on our albums and for some of our concerts, and they sort of acted as the liason,” Urata says. “It was perfect, we just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Opening the show will be Ariel Pink and Kishi Bashi. 

Following the Red Rocks date, DeVotchKa will be heading out west to perform at Bumbershoot in Seattle and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco in the fall. They are also working on a new album- stay tuned to for information on the release.

Pick up tickets for the show here.

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Category: Local News

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