Banhart came on-stage, drenched in red light and holding only an acoustic guitar. He launches into “Quedate Luna,” a quiet, relatively obscure acoustic track from his 2005 album, Cripple Crow. Banhart knew that this was a crowd that knew every word, and that wanted to hear the old as much as the new.
“I have a cornucopia of tunes for you guys tonight,” he said, in-between asking the crowd for requests (to uproarious yells of different tunes from his entire discography, including someone actually yelling “play your entire discography”) and answering fans in English and Spanish.
“Claro que vamos a tocar esa, no te preocupes,” he said when someone yelled out “Carmensita,” one of his more famous songs from 2007 album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. His receptiveness to audience requests for the old music aside—even teasing the crowd with the beginning line from Cripple Crow-era “Santa Maria Da Feira”—he wanted to dig into the newer tracks.
Ape in Pink Marble, Banhart’s 9th release, and the new album is absolutely potent played live, and in every incarnation: the show was split in half between Banhart backed by a band and alone on stage with an acoustic guitar. The balance between electric and acoustic helped widen the lens of the album, from the punchy “Fancy Man,” which saw Banhart traipsing around the stage and swaying his hips, to hushed new single “Saturday Night.”
The crowd knew every word and relished this unexpected show which, of course, ended with “Carmensita;” despite the song being completely in Spanish, everyone was shouting the words at the top of their lungs.
Devendra Banhart and Rogov play Club Bahia in Los Angeles, California.
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