Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings @ Club Nokia, 1/25/09
Four words I never thought I would hear uttered at Club Nokia issued from young woman from the crowd. "I love your accordion!" she screamed. Next to me a drunken man in a plaid fedora raised his hands in double devil horns while stomping his feet. Really I thought that sort of thing was reserved for polka festivals and street fairs, but I guess I was wrong. You might well ask, who was inducing such fervor from the crowd? Ivan Milev and his band (and by band I mean buddy. He was accompanied by the violinist, Entcho Todorov) opened for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings on Sunday night. Two middle aged men in button down shirts announced that they were going to play "Bulgarian soul music," and proceeded to melt the crowd's face off with just an accordion and a violin.
Ivan Milev's hands flew up and down his accordion with such speed that if the accordion keys and valves had been red hot coals his fingers would not have been burned. Some how Todorov not only kept up, but competed with Milev's speed. The music had not much melody, but instead flew at a breakneck pace back and forth between the two musicians. It was a united sort of competition though. If Milev had the solo then Todorov would back him up by filling in the bass and rhythm and vice versa. By the end of the set all of the Eastern European soul was beginning to make me long for a bowl of goulash, a giant fur hat, and a one way ticket to Budapest.