Feeling groovy after a fun filled night at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach to see the illustrious Devendra Banhart, an artist rightly connected with the genre of psychedelic folk. I purchased his newest album What Will We Be a few months ago and love the feel of his eclectic, world beats. And boy, did he really deliver live!
After growing up in Venezuela, Devendra moved back to the States as a teen and started playing music in SF and LA but his Tropicalia vibe still permeates much of his music, many songs sung in Spanish. I was not surprised to see that he had performed with Gilberto Gil at the Hollywood Bowl since I immediately thought of Caetano Veloso, one of my favorite Brazilian artists, after hearing his songs Carmensita and Quedate Luna.
After studying Hinduism the past few months, I am also excited to have found out that his unique name is one of the names for the god Indra, a passionate war god from traditional Vedic scriptures that I found such a terrific character in many a remarkable tale. A positively perfect fit for this enigmatic soul, Devendra oozed with passion on the stage, dancing like a wild man, crawling on the ground, and truly connecting with the energy in some of his Hindu inspired numbers. His movements were not overdone but refreshingly silly and his fiery dance moves with his 4 band mates really jazzed up the crowd. The Belly Up is an intimate, wood-filled venue with fantastic acoustics and Devendra felt inspired to return to an old tradition of his band's for the first time in years by asking someone from the audience to come up and play a song they had written yet had not thus far played for any other soul. A girl hopped on stage, carefully grasping Devendra's guitar in both hands, and sang her heart out while jamming so exceptionally on those strings like I haven't seen in a long time. The whole audience was in shock and couldn't stop cheering for her as D gave her a big hug and a straight look in the eye which probably said a thousand things...
No pictures can be taken in this smaller venue but here are some from a recent show of his in San Francisco:
Although his hair is short like these above now, this shot below reminds me most of his shirtless performance by the end of our show tonight. Sweet 'do. (And I love his tattoo I spied tonight that he must not have had yet when this picture was taken but it was on the middle of his chest- "FE" or faith)
Such a magical modular night, go listen to him!
courtesy of www.sfweekly.com, www.kowner.com/portraits