Devendra Banhart / Vetiver / Joanna Newsom

Show preview - Dallas, TX - 07/02/04

So Lollapalooza got cancelled this year due to poor ticket sales despite the fact that there were some great artists on the bill including Sonic Youth, The Flaming Lips and TV On The Radio. Don't despair, spend a fraction of the ticket price and go see Devendra Banhart and the band he is also a member of, Vetiver. If that isn't enough for you, they bring with them special guest Joanna Newsom to blow the unsuspecting audience's mind with only her harp and intense, Björk-flavored vocals between their sets. Polar opposite of a two-day festival in the sun, you can see these guys in intimate settings with no viewer having to be more than 30 feet from the stage.

Vetiver took the stage first at around 10pm with a stirring rendition of Oh Papa, starting the show in the same attention-demanding fashion as heard on the album. After six or seven songs performed to perfection (all sans-Banhart) in Andy Cabic's hushed vocals, Vetiver leaves the stage with a quiet reminder from Cabic that they are Vetiver from San Francisco and the question is raised of "Has Joanna played Dallas before?" Nobody seems to have the answer...

Several minutes later, the crowd is stunned to silence by Newsom erupting into a upbeat chanting a cappella solo accompanied only by handclaps sounding something like Björk raised on grits and catfish. Unbelievable solo harp and unusual vocals, but she began to lose some of the audience member's attention after 3 or 4 songs.

Around half past midnight, Banhart takes the stage with This is the Way. Just a man and his guitar, but with the presence of royalty. Humorous and at times nonsensical, yet completely honest story-telling from a man musically advanced well beyond his years. In case you don't speak español, you might get a quick translation of the lyrics to Todo Los Dolores out of Señor Banhart which state that all the graffiti says Peter Pan and asks how you had such a cute baby when you have a camel face. After several tracks, Cabic joins Banhart on stage for an a couple of songs including an extended, bring-down-the-house version of This Beard is for Siobhán. By the end of the show, (nearly 2am at this point) the members of Vetiver, Newsom, her harp, a guest that sang one track with her and Banhart filled the small stage to capacity for a 7-person jam session to wrap up the show with a fantastic rendition of Amour Fou, one of the two Vetiver album tracks featuring co-writing and vocal contributions from Banhart.

It's late in the tour, but if you happen to be in Arizona or California, they just might pass by your town as they make their way out of Texas, back to San Francisco. If not, you will have to settle for their records. After you hear them, i guarantee you won't miss your chance to see them next time they hit the road.