Saturday, February 25th, 2017 long-awaited Devendra Banhart delivered a delightful, sold out performance at the North Beach Bandshell, filled with classic songs and often engaging the audience with humanizing banter as well as fulfilling requests.
Before Devendra was introduced, the show began with short sets by three of Banhart’s bandmates: H. Hawkline, Greg Rogov, and Josiah Steinbrick. H. Hawkline, also known as Huw Evans, commenced the evening with a very whimsical, solo performance. His songs were gentle but charming, gracing us with an individual perspective into his personal songwriting endeavors. Josiah Steinbrick followed with an improvised, ambient performance using what appeared to look like a mic’d up kalimba processed through a series of atmospheric sound effects. Greg Rogov continued to woo us with his sweet, almost haunting songs on his Venezuelan cuatro guitar and H. Hawkline accompanying on bass. Unbeknownst to the spectators, Devendra would stand quietly back-stage, admiring the music of his bandmates through the sliver of the door.
Devendra Banhart was introduced to a loving audience as he walked to each corner of the stage, palms pressed together making thanking gestures. His band behind him, most of whom we have already met previously except the guitarist Cate Le Bon- took the stage. Opening with the delicate “Saturday Night” and “Mara”, Devendra presented a warm and dear setting alike to recollecting with an old friend. At some point, the band members left the stage leaving Devendra to which he playfully uttered “Finally, some alone time.” He began engaging with the audience by asking for requests. In his truest essence, you could admire the humility behind him as he humbly showed his gratitude. It was both visually and audibly clear the transformation that has shaped Banhart over the years from freak-folk wild child to a more refined songwriter- one who has found inner peace and meaning. One could only appreciate the chemistry and love felt between Banhart and his bandmates. The whole night was like watching a play with enriching character backstories as it lead it up to their kinship and parting for a final encore performance. Closing with the classic “Carmensita”, Devendra concluded his performance and bid his viewers adieu.
Written content: Nicolas Aponte
Photography by: Alba Rubio