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Concert Review - Devendra Banhart by Jamie Nagode

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Concert Review - Devendra Banhart by Jamie Nagode

Caden Marchese

Traditionally, we will see a musician or band tour with other bands/artists of

similar taste, sound, philosophy, etc. In the fortunate case of Devendra Banhart, his

tour-mates included Josiah Steinbrick, H. Hawkline, Gregory Rogov, and Todd

Dolhoff, all four of which doubled as Devendra’s band mates. To a frequent(ish)

show-goer such as myself, it may seem unorthodox to showcase members of the

band as solo acts to open for the front man; I for one, have never had the luxury, but

I have to say it was an expert play. Each opener had a distinctive and original sound

unlike the others, adding iterative layers of depth to the successor, ultimately

amounting to the full band with Devendra at the front. You felt like you knew them

all personally by the end, and could appreciate the performance from a

compartmentalized angle as well as from a full, comprehensive view.

Gregory Rogov and Todd Dolhoff started off the set; Rogov played the ukulele

and serenaded the young crowd with the alluring manner of the classic Latin-

American romantic. Dolhoff accompanied on the bass and jazz drums, with back-up

vocals and electronic harmonies. They sat on the stage to set the coffee-shop tone,

with love songs and a sound I can compare to the softer vibes of Kings of

Convenience.

H. Hawkline of Whales following the duo, standing over 6-feet tall and 20-

something, took center stage with an acoustic guitar. He played only a couple songs

as well, following suit with love song serenades. The performance was a musical

movement, with unique chord progressions and an impressive vocal range that

would swell into a beautifully developed falsetto at the apex of each song. Songs

were lyrically clever, reflecting Hawkline’s stage presence, and comparable to the

material of bands like Adult Jazz and The Shins.

Josh Steinbrick stepped in to “cleanse the pallet”, equipped with no more

than an electric African thumb piano. It was beautifully powerful, meditative music

packed with reverberation and a few “ohms” here and there. The audience was a

little mystified, a little drunk, and certainly down with it.

Finally, the ever-clever Devendra Banhart became the object of our musings

and took the stage, introduced us to the familiar faces joining him, and played a

damn good guitar. He alternated between guitar-player and maestro, directing the

music with quite a bit of wrist, and the crowd swelled with good humor and

beverage. Für Hildegard von Bingen flooded the theater and the crowd was a fangirl

ocean, happy, dancy, and grateful. Devendra echoes back his honest appreciation,

“Thank you. Thank you all so much. That’s really all I got.” He was good to the

crowd, personable and funny with a voice like pillow talk; he spoke English and

Spanish, was accommodative and took maybe seven different song requests. The

set was mainly his old stuff until the end, when he ended the encore with some

favorites from Ape in Pink Marble: Fig in Leather and of course, Fancy Man. It was a

very snugly set. I definitely look forward to his next tour, and I would recommend

others from out of state to try and catch him this time around.