DEVOTCHKA CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF ‘HOW IT ENDS’ AT EMOTIONAL EL REY SHOW

Source – https://getsomemagazine.com/blog/devotchka-celebrates-20-years-of-how-it-ends-at-emotional-el-rey-show

The best types of shows are ones that are years in the making. For me, getting to see and photograph Devotchka at the El Rey Theatre felt like a dream come true; after discovering the band through their beautiful score in the 2006 indie classic “Little Miss Sunshine,” I quickly became obsessed. Due to a series of misfortunes over the years, I never managed to see them live. And all that changed last week.

The El Rey was a perfectly intimate and homey venue for a band like Devotchka, housing a respectful but excited crowd. The photo pit was cozy, positioned between the stage and a set of fans on the barricade who’d traveled from Palm Springs, the Valley, and even Phoenix to catch the band; as a photographer, I felt like the space was tight enough that I could climb right on stage to join the band.

The opening act was Moondaddy, a romantic-sounding five-piece whose songs sometimes felt full-bodied enough to be in a Bond film, and other times felt as delicate as a stripped-back lo-fi record made in a bedroom. The low-level lighting made for an atmospheric show and challenging shoot; ultimately, I’m happy with what I captured.

Thankfully, one of the highlights of the show was the crowd. People in the audience were so kind and thoughtful that someone bought me a water bottle unprompted and offered their spot to me so I could “get good shots.” The kindness of the crowd felt like a direct reflection of Devotchka as artists.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of their seminal work How It Ends, Devotchka brought their worldly and travelin- band sensibility to a performance that was, above all else, emotional. Once the red velvet curtains opened, lead singer Nick Urata took the stage alone, and began performing “You Love Me” with only a small acoustic guitar; his voice carried throughout the venue as the audience stood in quiet awe. After a few verses, you could hear soft emotional gasps and sobs from the front row and Urata encouraged people to sing along. It was so sweet and goosebump-inducing.

For the following hour, Devotchka tore through each and every song from How It Ends, busting out an accordian, upright bass, light-up tuba, trumpet, violin, keyboards, and even a theremin to accompany their guitars and drums. Whether Urata was kicking his heels up and taking a swig from his personal bottle of wine during upbeat tracks like “We’re Leaving,” or soulfully crooning on “Dearly Departed,” the show was undeniably moving. After the band was nearing the end of their set and finished playing the beautiful tender “How It Ends,” the woman next to me turned and said, “That song alone was worth the price of admission.” And she wasn’t wrong.

DEVOTCHKA

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