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Friday, December 15

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Review Mon Oct 18 2010

Review: Devotchka, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Angus & Julia Stone @ Lincoln Hall 10/15

[Review and photos by Steve Stearns.]

Scottland Yard Gospel Choir_2.jpg
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's Mary Ralph (photo by Steve Stearns)

On Friday night, Lincoln Hall celebrated their first anniversary as a Chicago concert venue and to mark the occasion in style they found an ideal line up for this intimate venue. The night opened with an energetic performance by Chicago's own Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. If you don't know them from their music, you may have heard about them from the terrible accident they had just over a year ago when their van rolled over on the way to Cincinnati. While the pain and debt of that accident may still linger, the band puts on a great show with no signs that anything ever went wrong.

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's music is ripe with dark comedy featuring lyrics like, "I hope that you catch syphilis and die alone," and, "Oh my god, my life is so fucked up." Those lyrics are then mixed with wonderfully energetic instrumentals that practically compel you to dance and sing along. Overall they are a bit reminiscent of Morissey for his knack for blending seemingly a seemingly happy sound with cynical lyrics, but they have a far more humorous quality that really shines in concert.

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Julia Stone (photo by Steve Stearns)

Following Scotland yard's performance was Angus & Julia Stone, a brother sister duo, with a more folk inspired set. Most bands will start their sets with something energetic to excite the crowd, but the Stones go a different direction, leading off with a quieter acoustic set featuring Julia's powerful voice. The crowd went silent, captivated by her voice and the quiet strumming of her and her brother's guitar. Once the crowd was hooked, they ran from there, bringing in a drummer and bassist to mix up their acoustic songs with a more rock inspired sound.

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Devotchka's Jeanie Schroder (photo by Steve Stearns)

Finally to end the evening, Devotchka took the stage, a band I've had the privilege of seeing multiple times in a variety of venues. Having seen them in larger venues like Lollapalooza and at the Congress Theater earlier this year, I highly recommend trying to see them in a more intimate location like Lincoln Hall. While they can definitely entertain a larger crowd, there's something about their music that lends itself so much better to a smaller venue.

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Devotchka's Nick Urata (photo by Steve Stearns)

If you're not familiar with Devotchka, they're notorious for their eclectic blend of instruments; playing a variety of guitars, trumpet, sousaphone, cello, and even a Theramin. There are no specialists in this band, with each member playing more than one instrument with near virtuoso ability. Their sound is hard to describe but it's largely a gypsy punk sound, blending a lot of eastern European influences with American folk and punk. Think a more mellow, soulful version of Golgol Bordello and you get a sense of it.

The show began with the fast moving, polka inspired, "Basso Profundo," firing up the crowd with Nick Urata's vocals and a bass line supported by Jeanie Schroder on the Sousaphone. From there they played a variety of their greatest hits leading into my personal favorite, We're Leaving. A song which features an unusual combination of energetic mariachi instrumentals with Tom Hagerman on violin, Shawn King on trumpet and Urata belting out melancholy lyrics.

Devotchka_7.jpg
Devotchka's Shawn King (photo by Steve Stearns)

Their main set wrapped up with "The Oblivion" and was followed up by a two song encore that concluded with "Such a Lovely Thing." A song that seems custom tailored to end their concerts, featuring the lyric, "you only love me when I'm leaving." It constantly changes pace and brings in a variety of sounds that act like a "best of" for the entire show, brimming with a frenetic energy that got the whole crowd dancing.

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Devotchka's Nick Urata (photo by Steve Stearns)

 
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Laurie / October 18, 2010 1:25 PM

Apparently we were at different concerts? The audience grew quiet for Angus & Julia Stone because most of them headed out to the bar until the set finished.

Angus And Julia Stone Tickets / February 15, 2011 12:53 PM

I like stones and rocks too :-); I mean I’m a fan of Stone brothers since their beginnings and still impressed but what they do. They are just talented artists. Love them!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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