Devendra Banhart's Last Groove in Buenos Aires

Devendra Banhart's Last Groove in Buenos Aires

The Venezuelan-American indie folk rocker finished his Latin American tour in Argentina.

The Venezuelan-American indie folk rocker finished his Latin American tour in Argentina.

Text: E.R. PULGAR

Groove in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires is a three floor venue, with more than enough space for the sold-out show Devendra Banhart was to play for the last concert of his Latin American tour. Even then, with everyone packed so tightly together, two people fainted before opening act Rogov even took the stage, something that Greg Rogove himself kept in mind throughout the brief set and was keen to point out.

A third person fainted after he played "Outliers," a standout from his Hooops EP, and he didn't start playing again until the person was helped. Before starting, he joked with the audience about the heat—"you're all such hot, sexy boludos"—thanked them for coming, and started playing "To The Love Within" from Megapuss, a project he co-created with Noah Georgeson, Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes, and Banhart himself. He ended with "Sunrise Sunset," preceding the song with a brief statement about the Trump presidency in the U.S. "We didn't want to vote for him, and he has to go soon, but everything will be alright."

When the man of the hour finally waltzed onstage, rocking a black suit jacket over what he would later reveal to be a Sumo T-shirt—as the night progressed, he'd constantly reference the cult Argentine post-punk band—he launched into "Saturday Night," the lead single from recent release Ape in Pink Marble. He finished, thanked Rogove for opening the show—"A huge thanks to this Adonis, to this great poet"—and went on to play a myriad of favorites from Cripple Crow-era to rarely-played cuts from Ape in Pink Marble like "Lucky." Every once in a while, he talked to the audience, bemoaning the raised stage but saying he was happy he could see everyone, and reaching out to take notes and homemade banners from the front. Clutching one note before playing "Brindo," he mused, "wouldn't it be funny if it just said fuck you?"

Before starting a mash-up of "Jon Lends a Hand" with George Harrison's "Hare Krishna", he urged the audience to "turn to [their] partner, give them a kiss, and say you're sorry." The highlights of the night came during another fainting spell in the middle of "Fancy Man," with Banhart stopping once again mid-song and, to get back into the swing, spontaneously bursting into Cher's "Believe."

The political themes that Rogov touched on, and that Banhart himself usually discusses, were near-absent. A gentle nod came near the end, when he spotted an audience member brandishing a Venezuelan flag near the front: "Ese es mi pana, y aquí todos somos panas" ("That's my friend, and tonight we're all friends") He ended with Megapuss' cover of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision"—"this one's for our Starman"—and, of course, "Carmensita." A strong ending, with as much love for Argentina as his native Venezuela.

Click through the slideshow below for exclusive images from the concert.

E.R. Pulgar

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