DeVotchKa Make Do, Somehow, Without Acrobats

Crying out, in vain, for aerial stunts. Photo: Diana Sabreen

DeVotchKa's spring tour has featured acrobats hanging from the ceiling, and so last night at Terminal 5, there was a lingering expectation that the crowd would be seeing aerial stunts. Every time a curtain rustled in the upstairs balcony or a roadie came onstage, the question in the air was, "Is it time for the acrobats?" Alas, that time never came. But the band that got its start backing a burlesque troupe didn't stint on the theatricality. Teetering, sonically, between a Russian circus (courtesy of accordion) and a Mexican funeral (horn section, skeleton in a sombrero), the music veered from manic to depressive. Best known for the bittersweet Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, DeVotchKa were actually at their best performing grand, celebratory songs with strings and horns piled atop their usual instruments (like sousaphone and theremin). Singer Nick Urata at one point danced a jig that soon spread across the crowd; no lamb was served, but you could've sworn the show had become a Greek wedding. As the song ended, Urata, who swigged from a wine bottle when he wasn't using it to play his bouzouki, toasted the crowd, and they cheered wildly in response. No acrobats had even swung into view. —Elizabeth Black