Sxsw Rockets Off At The Launchpad

Christopher Johnson
2 min read
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This lucky soul got his South by Southwest musical experience off to a great start, and clearly adding to that joy was seeing Devotchka — one of my favorite bands from last year’s festival — playing last night right in Albuquerque’s very own live music powerhouse the Launchpad. Devotchka, a stylish quartet which plays a kind of Eastern European gypsy music backed with some south of the border rhythms then finally all fused together with American folk and expressed vocally through the front man Nick Urata’s great voice, had the crowd literally screaming for more. In my opinion this band is who I wish I was always listening to (or seeing) instead of Calexico, while inhabiting nearly the same uninhabitable genre, I think Devotchka succeeds with their musical mélange in a way that Calexico’s music often presents as contrived. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a band come out for an encore at Launchpad, but Devotchka (a Russian-influenced nonce word roughly meaning “girl” from Anthony Burgess’s famous novel, A Clockwork Orange, check out for more), had the crowd in high spirits. Most of the people I spoke with didn’t even know who Denver’s Devotchka ( was. Instead, they were pretty evenly split between local favorites Lowlights, who opened up the evening with a great set, or for the headliner, The Black Heart Procession, which I did not stay for, but which I’m sure held their own with their usual aplomb. Regardless, Burque was lucky to get one of the Austin music festivals great live bands to perform on their way down to tomorrow’s show. Devotchka’s website states they have been recording some new cover tunes for an album due in May, which I really look forward to. If you want to hear a pretty cool interview on NPR with Devotchka, check out ( for a discussion mostly about their latest album, How It Ends.
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