Devendra Show in London

NME/UK | by John Mulvey


Contrary to what he promised in NME the other week, there are no babies at Devendra Banhart's second London show. Instead, we're confronted by a starry-eyed hippy sat like a guru (his middle name is Obi, as in Wan Kenobi), playing guitar intricately and singing, "Hey there Mr Sexy Pig", through his teeth. He drinks from mysterious bottles, and scolds journailists present for not writing about singer Nick Drake when he was alive (Er, he died 29 years ago). Banhart, obviously, is a bit of a 'character', but he's also New York's best singer-songwriter since Jeff Buckley. He owe's debt to a bunch of psychodelic oldies from the late '60s, notably tragic, piercing singer, Karen Dalton. But Banhart's an original who plays his beautiful song's about animals, sex and babies in a kind of ecstatic trance. "I could take my little teeth out and show them a real good time", he promises. An exciting prospect, but surely just singing to them would be enough?