Last Night: Devendra Banhart and the Grogs at the Regency Ballroom

Devendra Banhart and The Grogs, Dorothy and The Originals
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Regency Ballroom

Better Than: Seeing Devendra at The Warfield.

It used to be that when you made it big as a musician, you played an “unplugged” session, proving to the world the power your songs hold against all that extra amplification. Devendra Banhart, who needs no introduction here in his former stomping ground, took the opposite route and plugged in last night. The result, like most things Banhart attempts, was eclectic, fun, and original.

The show easily could have been called The Devendra Banhart Variety Hour, as it featured the frontman kicking it on stage with his friends from The Grogs. Together they offered heaps of surf rock, a slice of metal, a dash of reggae, a Phish style jam session–and got the fans to not only appreciate the eclectic mix, but to dance along to it as well.

Shedding his mountain man look for a short haircut and close shave, Banhart was at first glance unrecognizable. He looked a bit like Marcel Marceau in a striped t-shirt and old, oversized pants until he began flailing about, doing his familiar “chicken dance” during “Long Haired Child.” He explained, “It's always weird playing in San Francisco, cause you know, I lived here. It's where I learned the chicken dance from.” No one seemed to feel that awkwardness, though. Each song was greeted with raucous applause and enthusiasm. Dancing was de-rigueur.

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