Male fraud. **
** Seen at the 2007 Green Man Festival. To be honest, the only reason we were standing that close to Banhart was to stake out a good position for the next act, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.
“He sucks,” my newfound Italian friend Marco hissed in my ear about two minutes into Banhart’s set. The assessment was spot-on: the Banhart gang is a collection of musical frauds. They were out of tune, off key, utterly without spirit or direction, and generally about as interesting to watch as a punctured air mattress. The last time this many people so devoid of talent were granted “opening act” status at a major festival was probably during the era of The Troggs. Cross The Doors at their most turgid with Spinal Tap and you’ll have some idea of what we witnessed.
No offense to the Banhart faithful - many of whom were cawing his name and clawing the air in genuine adulation during his set - but Newcastle’s seventeen-year-old Beth Jeans Houghton, whom Banhart plucked from the crowd for the obligatory guest song, was a better performer, despite the inability of the sound people to cope with her sudden appearance. The practice is Banhart’s single saving grace, though something smelled fishy about this particular choice, as Beth Jeans - with her foot-long eyelashes and flesh-baring rockette suit - was more than prepared for the stage, and seems to have been wearing an artist’s white wristband in the first place… See pics of Houghton below.
Clip from “I Feel Just Like a Child”, performed at the Green Man Festival. Courtesy missyhate.
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