Devendra Banhart: A live (stream) review

Since the coronavirus pandemic is preventing artists from performing live, some are taking to livestreams as a way of connecting with fans. Devendra Banhart concluded his four-part OLA series, “a ticketed livestream series singing songs in the order they were written,” at The Underground Museum on Sept. 30. The series began on Sept. 9 and was filmed at other Los Angeles institutions such as the Bob Baker Marionette Theater and The Broad. 

NoonChorus, an online music venue that has provided several artists a platform to perform since its launch in April, sold tickets for $15, as well as merchandise bundles and passes for all four of Banhart’s shows at a reasonable price. Banhart’s fourth installment of the series featured songs from his last two albums, “Ape in Pink Marble” and “Ma.” Banhart specifically chose to perform the songs of “Ma” at The Underground Museum and closed the show with “Memorial,” a song written for the museum’s founder, Noah Davis, who passed away five years ago. 

Banhart was joined only by Todd Dahloff, as they played an array of guitar, bass and keys among the scenic foliage of The Underground Museum’s sculpture garden. Without an introduction, Banhart opened the hour-long show with “Middle Names,” a popular song from the 2016 release of “Ape in Pink Marble.” The sound quality throughout the show was impressive for being filmed entirely outside, other than an extremely loud aircraft flying overhead that caught Banhart’s attention and made him chuckle mid-performance. 

Director Moses Berkson created an intimate environment with close-up shots of Banhart, whose formal suit attire juxtaposed with the athletic, slide-style shoes on his feet. A stand-out from the performance was Banhart’s rendition of “Taking a Page,” which was released last year as a single from his last studio album, “Ma.” The song was inspired by Carole King, who granted Banhart permission to borrow parts of her song, “So Far Away.” 

The show seemed to end earlier than planned, following a short moment of silence after Banhart’s performance of “Memorial,” which he dedicated to Davis. Banhart then took time to thank The Underground Museum, introducing several people involved in the execution of the livestream series, all of whom were wearing masks. 

“When it’s safe to leave the house, come to The Underground Museum,” said Banhart. 

You can listen to Banhart’s discography on any music streaming service, as well as follow NoonChrous for future livestream performances from your favorite artists.

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