As part of the ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records at BAM, popular alternative mad men Devendra Banhart, Stephin Merritt & Sam Beam (of Iron and Wine) were let out to play this past Friday night. Playing solo acoustic sets of both old and contemporary gems from their diverse repertoires, the atmosphere was calm and relaxed in the beautiful Howard Gilman Opera House, and the prevailing theme was love and it’s consequential woes. Disguised in melody, naturally.
Devendra Banhart is looking more eloquent librarian than Spanglish magician these days, but appearances can be deceiving. Jumping between Spanish and English, and speaking and singing, he was well and truly in his element as an avant-garde entertainer. Acoustic renditions of “Bad Girl,” “Lover,” and “Rosa” were interspersed with anecdotes and flamboyant hand twirls, as loopy as the man himself. “Never Seen Such Good Things”, from his latest studio album Mala, was the perfect closer: “If we ever make sweet love again, I’m sure that it will be quite disgusting.”