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Levitation: Devendra Banhart Kicks Off Levitation Weekend





Levitation: Devendra Banhart Kicks Off Levitation Weekend

 

One of the first acts of the festival, Devandra Banhart christens Levitation and sets the bar high for the weekend. Banhart commands the stage and all the audience’s attention with his charisma, confidence, and contagious mirth. (Shouldn’t Angel Olsen be opening for him?) While singing, he gesticulates and orients his wrist like a “Fancy Man,” and when singing this song he pours himself into microphone like an old crooner. Banhart, full of class and sass, will make you want to have him over for dinner and will make you forget that it’s 40 degrees out and drizzly cold. 

 

“I know it’s hot out there, Austin!” Banhart warms us with laughter,” I know it’s hot out there, but if we play this song well, really well, then in the next two months please go buy someone a pair of socks because people are cold out there.” What a beautiful preface to the following love song, “Shabop Shalom,” from his 2007 album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. They played it really well and if everyone at Stubbs that night could go buy someone a pair of socks, there would be less cold feet in Austin.  Along with “Never Seen Such Good Things” from 2013, Banhart playing songs off his older albums woke dormant parts of my soul. Amazing how music connects us not only to each other but also to our past selves. 

 

Amidst the play and whimsy, Banhart and the band introduced songs from their new album, Ma, with composure and tact. “My Boyfriend’s in the Band” features Banhart’s quintessential code-switching, the lyrics swimming between English and Spanish. The new album enchants with the same spirit at his previous projects. His magnetic presence is as inescapable as ever and amplified by his enduring sound.

 

- Mel Green

 

Photo: Casey Holder

Published: November 16, 2019 |

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