We Heart Devendra Banhart

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Mr. Devendra Banhart played at the 930 Club on Wednesday night, so I was sure to get a ticket early (I didn’t think to wear his YBP shirt and be the coolest kid in the room…fail). Not only do we love him for being the first artist to believe in YBP, but for his energy and continuously developing musical style.

Last time I saw him was in Boston during his tour to promote his previous album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, in 2007. Another year, another album.

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I have to admit that I haven’t gotten my hands on What Will We Be yet, so I was flying blind into the show.  The first thing that hit me was the change of outfit; Dev and his group have traded in the hippie garb of yesteryear for the muted tones and urban feel of indie rockers.  This shift in visual style seemed to be mirrored in the music that, following the experimentation and increased instrumentation of SRDTC, continues to tend toward off-kilter indie rock compositions rather than the fingerpicked solo guitar that originally brought me to Devendra.  Sure, he took a handful of songs off of previous albums to play solo guitar or piano, but the majority were more orchestrated items.

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I felt uneasy about that transition before Wednesday, but seeing and hearing them live caused the music to make more sense to me. Somehow, seeing him and his group having a great time up there made the music feel like more of a fit. I’m looking forward to hearing more of the album.

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