Thursday, July 28, 2011

Devendra Banhart at The Metro 27/07/2011

Dear Warner Brothers,
Please give Devendra Banhart the complete artistic control which he fully deserves and needs in order to truly flourish as an artist.
Dressed in an (office?) shirt, sports jacket and skinny jeans with his hair cropped shorter and a neatly trimmed beard, he looked every part the office worker and about as comfortable as a fish out of water.
Attempts at making an artist more palatable to the masses could also end up diminishing an artist' star quality.
Devendra's following love him for his talent, creativity and individuality.

Okay, I know I've made the assumption that this toning down is a corporate directive rather than a personal choice.

Let's face it, his appeal should never go mainstream.
Another Madonna he'll never be.  And thank heavens for that. 

It was great seeing more local talent primed for the world stage.  This time I'm talking about opening act Melbourne's Husky.  It wasn't till frontman Husky Gawenda covered America (The band's) Sandman that I connected their sounds to 70's harmonised bands.

It felt as though Devendra was slightly reserved for the first half of the concert. 
That's not to say he didn't try to keep things jovial & light in parts, occasionally sticking his tongue out, the odd grimaces and yelps to hit the notes and body jerks we're accustomed to in his performances, only more self-conscious this time around.

After the aforesaid offending jacket came off and sleeves were rolled up, that it felt he was more in his element.
It was also funny when dylexsia struck and he had lines jumbled and was saved as he toyed with the mistake.  There were songs where he'd dug in deep and delivered soul-stirring moments.  My favourite, Brindo, was performed with gentlemanly aplomb; whereas fan-favourite Seahorse saw some jazzy embellishments and a note sung and sustained turning almost into a Red Indian call!  Now that's what I call talent!
A surprise song inclusion was a cover of Yellow Magic Orchestra's Sportsman.

Special mention must be made about backing band The Grogs who were outstanding in their versatility in playing the various genres covered throughout the night.

שָׁלוֹם  8.6/10

Setlist and freebie Dorothy and the Originals' Sound Diary CD (Looks like Devendra's artwork).

Yello Magic Orchestra - Sportsman


  1. Great review, Alex!


  2. Just saw Banhart at Prince and completely agree with the 'toning down' aspects. Also, it seemed like he only really came out of his shell once the guitar was put aside. Cover of Sportsmen was great.