Contributor: Kirsten Chen
It was a shame that Devendra Banhart finally made his China debut last weekend instead of, say, two years ago when his most recent album came out. His long-awaited show at Yugong Yishan was a great, intimate experience that most other fans will never get, but its stripped-down nature made it hard to enjoy any of his more elaborate songs. I was excited when he opened with “Brindo”, a delicate love song that includes Devendra’s signature humming and perfectly whispered, short lines of Spanish. Hearing only two guitars– his and Noah Georgeson’s, another folk musician– worked because it placed a greater focus on his voice. Devendra hits the highest notes without ever getting out of tune, and the weird faces or hand gestures that he makes are equally entertaining. The majority of his set were songs from “Ape in Pink Marble” played slightly slower, and with very delicate handling. They weren’t the most danceable, but Devendra made up for it by telling the audience that there would still be dancing after his performance. He even took the time to meet several of the fans that stuck around! His music is folk (but not) and weird (but in a good way)– you can’t help but to love him and his music.