Posted in music | pictures on August 20, 2010

words by Rachel Kowal, photos by Matúš Bence

"devendra is sessy" -Carenish

"Devendra Banhart.. *sigh* you make me smile (: Marry me?" - RaverBabies

"Adam Green is dressed as a pirate so this already rules" -Hello Smashley

Devendra Banhart

When Adam Green (formerly of Moldy Peaches) launched into Edward Elgar's graduation classic, "Pomp and Circumstance," mere seconds after walking on stage, I cringed. His set could go one of two ways: funny-bad, or just plain terrible.

I'm not sure how Adam Green managed to get on the bill last night (8/19). Sure, he was quite a sight to behold in his black pirate hat and complimentary red jacket and Devendra did speak positively of him later in the show (and even called him a 'genius'), but thanks to Green's failed jokes, mediocre talent, copious allusions to drugs, and eye-rolling stage antics, his performance fell flat. To be fair, it was hard to tell if Green knew his act was a total farce or not, but if it was all a joke, he didn't have the charisma or cleverness to pull it off. A bizarre opening band is somewhat fitting for a show headlined by Devendra Banhart, but I expect the eccentricities to be underlined with talent.

In a failed attempt to incite the audience and fulfill his rock 'n roll fantasy, Green kept walking out to the barrier between the stage and the audience and reaching out to people in the front, but with the exception of a handful of fans, the majority of the people in the audience couldn't even muster a response between songs. Instead of pushing forward, they left large pockets of space scattered throughout the floor, which Green found out the hard way when he tried (and failed) to crowd surf, leaving his band mates on stage to cringe in embarrassment as they continued to play.

During the one song that Green attempted to play solo, he managed to forget the lyrics ("I didn't have my passport, so they turned me into snow"), interrupt himself ("What is that echo? Do you hear that?"), and accidentally repeat a verse. By the time he feebly ripped through his white V-neck undershirt as he sang the line "she grabbed me," audible groans mixed with cheers. When he leaped into the pit for another round of (failed) crowd surfing, it wasn't long before the venue's bouncer intervened and tossed him back on stage. Finally, after nearly 50 minutes of shenanigans, Adam Green trounced off stage in his pirate captain garb, but not before briefly stopping mid song to sing a few lines from the chorus of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day.

Suffice it to say that I was relieved (and a bit confused) when a relatively clean-cut man in a button-up shirt and fitted blazer walked on stage. Had Devendra Banhart really traded in his signature look - the messy long hair and mountain man beard? I admit I wasn't convinced it was him until he started singing, and I heard the characteristic warble in his voice. I couldn't help but smile when I realized what he had chosen for his first song - "Long Haired Child."

All of my lingering frustrations about the opening band quickly faded away. The contrast between the two artists was astounding. Green and Banhart may both be showmen, but with the latter, it doesn't feel like a cheap gimmick. Devendra and The Grogs played well off each other. Though the majority of the songs were Banhart's (with the exception of some covers), members from The Grogs often lent their vocal talents to the mix. The interplay between Banhart and Grogs drummer Greg Rogrove was especially compelling early in the set with "Shabop Shalom." Rogrove began the song with a smooth, spoken word introduction turning to Banhart who walked over to sing directly to him in response.

In addition to facilitating a more raucous sound with the help of a backing band, Devendra also appeased the audience by playing a portion of his set solo. The mood in the room shifted dramatically from the first of his solo songs, "The Body Breaks." Suddenly instead of a whirlwind of lights and effects, just two white, immobile spotlights illuminated Banhart first on guitar and then the organ as he played through a handful of older songs.

Midway through his set, Banhart asked for requests and was met by a largely indecipherable jumble of screams. Banhart did his best to address the requests, but each song he sang was enthusiastically received by the audience. He even managed to break a string sometime near the end of the epic song "Seahorse," which featured lovely backing vocals and something bordering on a jam session. He also played a number of entertaining covers, including an impassioned rendition of the Taylor Dayne hit "Tell It To My Heart."

Though he had certainly played a lengthy set, Banhart returned to the stage to rapturous applause and churned out another three songs. Though I often find myself growing restless by the end of a show, this was not the case last night. When I glanced at my watch at the end of the encore, I was surprised to see that Devendra Banhart and The Grogs had played for nearly two hours. Thankfully, the encore did not include a cameo by Green.

More pictures, a video and Devendra's setlist from the show, below...

Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart

Devendra Banhart and the Grogs performing Seahorse

Devendra Banhart set list
Long Haired Child
Baby
Shabop Shalom
Angelika
The Body Breaks
Little Yellow Spider
A Sight to Behold
I Remember
First Song for B
The Charles C. Leary
You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Johnny Thunders cover song)
Hows About Tellin A Story
Seahorse
To Be Alone (Luckey Remington cover song)
16th & Valencia Roxy Music
Tell It To My Heart (Taylor Dayne cover song)
Lover
Diamond Eyes (Rodrigo Ramirez cover song)
Santa Maria de la Feira

Encore
This Beard is For Siobhun
Noah
Rats

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Comments (38)

Who the fuck is Davendra Banhart?

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:41 PM

^^^ are u serious? or is that like a new meme? Also, it's "Devendra"

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:47 PM

I think I just yawned in my pants.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:47 PM

^^^That is funny.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:52 PM

Devendra picareta!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:53 PM

Adam Green may not be a great live performer, but opening in front of anybody else's fans is hard to do, much less Devendra Banhart's. I'll have to reflect on this more, but my initial feeling is that this review may be too harsh on him.

While I know it is risky to criticize anybody like Devendra Banhart, I was not thrilled by the setlist. He played a lot of good songs, but they sandwiched a sleepy bunch of solo acoustic songs in the middle. Considering how late it was, it made it hard to stay awake.

And I really thought Terminal 5 had an 11:30 or midnight curfew. This show was great but it dragged on quite a bit.

Posted by Mark | August 20, 2010 4:55 PM

great review of adam. he really is an asshat.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:55 PM

^^^^hippies^^^^

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:56 PM

No, I don't know who he is. She?

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 4:59 PM

the opener didn't really have the full attention of the crowd? there were some lighting changes? a broken string? requests? sounds BIZARRE. and thanks for your red-carpet fashion analysis

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 5:03 PM

carmensita, not Santa Maria de la Feira

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 5:25 PM

Reading Rachel Kowal reviews makes me yearn for the days when Benjamin Lovosky used to burn through his thesaurus writing inane word strings. At least he was unintentionally funny.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 5:42 PM

Whoever wrote this is an asshat. Devendra played Carmensita not Santa maria, noah didn't play "Noah" but find shelter. Adam Green played a great set. These damn music critics with heir music criticism must be silenced. Who are these mongrels kidding. There's a reason they're writing articles and not making music. All that criticism makes them feel better about the reality of being talentless and boring.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 6:27 PM

he sucked when he played pete's candy store, he sucks more now 8 years later.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 7:08 PM

Hi

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 7:20 PM

I like Banhart's new haircut, he looks cool.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 7:52 PM

What's this got to do with meh?

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 8:07 PM

adam is fine, devendra is fine, you're all talentless assholes.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 9:32 PM

wait so what was the song that the drummer (greg rogove) and his other 2 band mates sang?

what was that called...slash does anyone have a video of it!

it was really great.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2010 10:58 PM

The song was Diamond by Priestbird

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 1:16 AM

uh, someone slip me a ruffie? yawn...plop

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 3:18 AM

This is ridiculous. Everyone at the show loved it. Adam Green was a fantastic opener and Devendra was amazing. Its so easy to criticize things, why don't you try creating something with half the talent that these people have?

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 6:40 AM

I agree that it's too easy to criticize!! People loved it and it was a great show!

Posted by car leasing | August 21, 2010 8:38 AM

Great show!

But if you can't have decent pictures, I wouldn't bother with putting up any. Seriously, what's the point of having those terrible pictures above?

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 9:10 AM

Adam's red jacket wasn't complimentary - he bought it. Though it did complement his hat. I expect brash assessments of talent on the reviewer's part to be underlined by basic ability to tell the difference between words.

Posted by Dima Dubson | August 21, 2010 11:21 AM

How can you post this review of adam when you write about 'wavvves' every fucking day!? I love you BV but seriously this time

Fuck this

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 1:59 PM

Adam Green is always like this at his shows. And his fans love it. Just because its not your thing, that doesnt mean he's talentless. Things like this are subjective. But obviously you know more about musical talent than, say, Devendra Banhart. Of course. Devendra was also beyond brilliant, as always.

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 5:22 PM

I was at this show and sorry to say it, but Adam Green was just a mess. With his jumping and failed crowd surfing, he was just an annoying opener. I guess I just have to appreciate his music or something I suppose. But Devendra was simply beautiful, from the opening chord of "Long Haired Child" to the final riff from "Carmensita" to the encore ending song "Rats". Even, the two covers he did and the songs from Luckey Remington and Noah Georgeson were simply amazing. And also, the guest joining of Priestbird to play their song "Diamond" was amazing. But all in all, it was an amazing concert that opened my heart and ears to something new.

Posted by John DiGlio | August 21, 2010 6:59 PM

pictures were fine and only 5 were posted anyway

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2010 8:08 PM

I'm not a fan of Adam Green, but after that show, I certainly am. His voice, his style.. spectacular, reminded me of Julian Casablancas. Although his act was kinda loopy, it was a dead crowd even when Devendra came on. No one seemed to be enjoying the music or even dancing! Come on! At least Adam tried to engage the crowd. I love Devendra and it was my first time seeing him live and I have to say although his performance was amazing, I felt like he wasn't all there. But overall, the show was brilliant, mishaps and all! Definately will go see them both again.

Posted by G.C. | August 22, 2010 6:49 AM

you should be embarrassed to write this review.

Posted by Anonymous | August 22, 2010 9:28 AM

at least adam has a sense of humor. you obviously just want to see a bunch pretenious depressed kids playing the latest musical fashion. this review is a joke.

Posted by Anonymous | August 22, 2010 9:31 AM

What a terrible review.

Posted by Anonymous | August 23, 2010 12:52 AM

completely agree with this review

Posted by Anonymous | August 23, 2010 11:49 AM

Anti-semitism! Kowal iz a fooooooool!

Posted by Anonymous | August 23, 2010 2:26 PM

Funny how a neutral post about Adam Green from February (http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2010/02/adam_green_albu.html)was met by such criticism, but a critical review is met with praise for Green. Just proves that many of the people who comment on the site are simply interested in taking the opposing side in the hopes of creating a stir.

Posted by Anonymous | August 23, 2010 5:28 PM

Adam has and always will suck. The guy is a turd. The only reason he ever got to where he is is because Ryan Gentles & The Strokes pushed him in everyone's faces for two years straight. Plain and simple. You would think that by now people have finally caught onto how much this joker sucks.

Posted by Truth | March 15, 2011 6:27 PM

he sucked when he played pete's candy store, he sucks more now 8 years later.

Posted by Gold Investment Jim Rogers | January 8, 2013 1:17 PM

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