After discovering the music of Devendra Banhart last year and falling in love with his unique sound, I couldn’t wait to see him live at one of my favorite Brighton venues – The Old Market.
Fortunately I got my tickets early as the gig had sold out within hours of being on sale.
Banhart has quickly gained a strong reputation in the UK for being a fantastically original and quirky songwriter and so I was determined to get to the venue early in order to get to the front and was glad of it too – as it was not long before the whole room was packed out with excited voices and eager ears.
Opening the night was singer songwriter Rodrigo Amarante whose beautiful finger picking style and softly sung lyrics captivated the crowd and left us all with smiles on our faces and goose bumps on our arms. Towards the end of his set, he was joined by the rest of Devendra’s band and finished off with my favorite song of his set ‘Maná’ which lifted the crowd wonderfully, clearing the way for Devendra Banhart.
Rodrigo Amarante is certainly an artist to check out.
After a very short interval, Devendra Banhart appeared on stage and began solo with a few of his classic tracks including ‘Little Yellow Spider’. He was then joined on stage by the rest of his band which included the drummer from The Strokes (Fabrizio Moriette) and support act Rodrigo Amarante playing guitar and keyboard. Banhart proceeded to play tracks from his new album ‘Mala’ which has gained considerable recognition from national radio and press, however, to die-hard Banhart fans, Mala has seemed less popular. Personally, the album took a while to grow on me unlike that of his early albums (Cripple Crow and Nino Rojo in particular) which seduced me instantly. However, the more and more I listened to his latest release the more I admired Banhart’s somewhat carefree change of style as ‘Mala’ was a lot more electronic and driven by effects than any of his other, more traditional albums. You can see and feel Banhart exploring new territories and boundaries in this album. You get the impression that Devendra genuinely doesn’t care about what people think of him and his music – which, in turn, give him his freedom to experiment with what he creates.
In an interview I recently read he said; ‘I don’t know whether I actually like the music I’m making, but I certainly enjoy making it’.
During the set, Banhart enjoyed dancing across the stage in a very childlike and insouciant manner – clearly enjoying the performance and connecting to the music. This seems akin to his attitude towards making music – carefree, playful and not trying to over appeal to a mainstream audience – which is what Devendra does best.
BrightonsFinest highly recommends you buys tickets early next time Devendra’s in town so as not to miss out.