A drift into Spanish seas, a night full of subtle rhythms and warble-like singing, it was evident that singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart had taken a winter night inside the Boulder Theater and turned it into his own miniature paradise. He and his band performed on February 3, 2017, and ended the night too early at just 11 p.m. — the cold air was bitter to face after his coastal tunes.
Banhart released an album in 2016 titled Ape in Pink Marble, and the opener of the night was from this work, “Saturday Night.” It’s hard to pinpoint what genre of music his work lies — folk, psychedelic folk and Latin are just a few words to describe it. And when I stated the night had warble-like singing, I should probably expand. Banhart has a signature singing style and often oscillates his vocal chords to dangle between syllables. It’s quite beautiful with his fragile voice and romantic lyrics, “As we all embrace what we’ve become / And love always is merging to one / Please don’t love me because, don’t love me because / You’re through hating you.”
Even though his lyrics were poetic, he came off quite quirky and silly, but in a manner that is one to admire instead of make fun of. He wore a bright orange sweater and the set-up reminded me of a Wes Andersen movie, filled with quirks and mild nostalgia. Banhart would dance with his hands, getting into the music both sonically and visually. He would also nod his head to the beat of the music, looking like a puppet being pulled on a theatrical set. And with each word of his music, he was infectious and gave off such a crisp inflection; he would punctuate his lyrics, just like when old choir teachers would have you practice smacking your t’s, and he would hiss out the s’s, dragging the music into a more ethereal sphere of sound.
“Thank you for coming out tonight, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Banhart stated, “The only thing I really want to say and what I want to leave you with, is thank you.”