Los Angeles is full of places you will never go. Not because you aren’t cool enough to know know about them, though that may be true, but because L.A. is simply too large for any single person to truly capture every single piece of it. Every single week there is something that you are apt to miss, regardless of how well you pay attention. Most recently you probably missed the Christmas shop, and Devendra Banhart’s phenomenal performance.
Walking in you were likely to absorb the space before anything else. Like most trendy locations nestled within the arts district of Los Angeles, Other Flowers was filled with the fragrance and visions of recently converted warehouse space. Though scent wise I guess it smelled more of the Chai tea (which smelled exceptional I may add) that they sold in the corner window along with clothing and beautiful posters. Beyond that it was a quaint space brimming with creativity, people sat on floor mats, and despite the brick the room was nice and quiet. While music was a focus during the opening acts it served more as an accoutrement to the flavor of the space which was full of art and fittingly smelled of incense.
Banhart quickly filled the room to capacity a line stretched across the Xmas market, the snow itself was profoundly interactive with Banhart frequently engaging the crowd between sets. At times it bordered on a comedy show more than a music show when the music started it ended up featuring multiple musicians who popped in and out of the show. The music was extremely absorbing and despite the various attractions in the space no one could wrest their attention away from the stage.
It is not easy to keep Angeleno’s so rapt. I should know, considering I myself am among them and my attention is about as rapt as a toddler. But Banhart held a strange sway over all of us. It was vastly apparent that many in the crowd didn’t even know a single song of his and were simply there for the event of it. Many people may consider that a travesty, but to me it is a turn towards the beautiful. So much of music has been relegated to an online discovery, people find what they like and dismiss the rest, the “night out at a show” is gone. Here it was alive and well, and the sense that Banhart was building a fanbase in real time was beautiful and awe inspiring. To say nothing else of his incredible performance it was a time machine to when music was more pure and beautiful, and that meant something to everyone who took the time to show their faces.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alanga