His most popular tag, “freak folk,” implies some sort of birthright insanity; it’s entirely possible that Venezuelan-born Devendra Banhart is crafting his peyote sheik persona deliberately in every step. (His middle name is Obi, after the Star Wars master, so expect no less of a plan.) At any rate, his tremulous, volatile lo-fi jams fit the eccentric suit, with hazily disjointed narratives from animal, vegetable, and mineral points of view and spazzy guitarwork to stop the heart. His embraced seventh album, What Will We Be, and recent collaborations with Vetiver, Oasis, and Beck may have helped elevate his stock to Town Hall proportions, but they definitely haven’t prepared the ushers—he may eat his beard or just set it on fire, but something is about to go down.
Sun., Nov. 22, 8 p.m., 2009
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 17, 2009