Devendra Banhart plays Bowery Ballroom - Oh My Rockness

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Devendra Banhart plays Bowery Ballroom

September 8, 2005
Barely in his 20's, Devendra Banhart has already lived a lifetime. Once a homeless San Francisco wanderer, Banhart would make crude home recordings showcasing his quivering distinctive voice, somehow reminiscent of ages ago. Banhart moved to New York City where he lived one night at a time in whatever housing he could find. Only recently, after the success of his multiple tours through the U.S. and Europe, has he found a permanent home.

Banhart sings twisted, whimsical, utterly sincere tales, and his acoustic guitar accompaniment showcases his amazing finger picking skills. Truly a free and independent spirit, Devendra Banhart deserves to be heard. For him, though, it seems not to matter; he'll sing for himself 'til the songs run dry. Judging from his early prolific outpouring of creativity, he won't run dry anytime soon.

Another band unfairly buried on this bill is Pela, a very melodic band from Brooklyn that's worth calling attention to. Lead singer, Billy Swanson, kind of has a Steve Perry vocal thing going on (a good thing, since Steve Perry rules), and the music made sounds similiar to the dramatic guitar lines of U2. This band on Brassland seems to have all the makings for a sizeable following -- catchy power hooks, a singer who can actually sing, and well-written words of desperation.

Pela has been compared not only to U2, but also bands like Modest Mouse and Ambulance LTD. I think they also sound like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Crystal Skulls meets James (remember that band?). They've recently played shows with Sleater-Kinney, The Decemberists, The National, Rainer Maria and Earlimart. These guys will headline very, very soon.

Devendra Banhart & Hairy Fairy, Beans w/The Holy Fuck, The Cribs, King of France, and Pela, play Bowery Ballroom, Wednesday, September 14th.


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