Thursday, August 11, 2005

Devendra in the park

yesterday evening Devendra Banhart played a secret show on the bandstand of Regent's Park, it was short, acoustic (and not very loud, people were asked to huddle closer when it began), and very sweet. It's a nice spot and the weather in London has been very summery lately, so it was lush as the sun was slowly setting over the ponds and trees in the background. The assembled hipsters/musos/journos were treated to free wine, beer, sandwiches and DB bags, that contained an apple, a book of drawings and a DVD. Very generous, and a very nice evening. Felt like a 60s happening/sit in. Hopefully this bandstand will be used again for similar events!

Secret gigs, advertised by word of mouth, gigs in unusual settings, outdoor gigs, there's something about these kind of gigs that is so unlike the usual concert-going experience in London and elsewhere, where you have to book weeks or months in advance, usually pay a lot just for the ticket, pay even more in surcharges, and then have to deal with a smokefilled, claustrophobic room, dangerous volume levels and atrocious bar prizes. Usually, even when it's good, it's hardly worth it. Personally, it's the smoke though the gets me the most. Everytime I go to a venue like the Barfly I can feel it in my lungs for a couple of days afterwards and it pisses me off. When will we have smokefree gigs in London clubs? Compared to a hellhole like the Barfly the pleasant airy space around Regents Parks bandstand is just a world away. I realize there's something a bit utopian about yesterdays gathering of the spirits, but it showed it is possible to have gigs and music events in a non commercial, healthy environment, even in central London.

I'll try to post some pictures soon!