I love discovering new music. Whether it’s spending a rainy afternoon browsing Bandcamp or via a friend’s excitable WhatsApp message, finding a song or band to obsess over is a special moment. My favourite way to discover new music is (surprise, surprise) at shows. The moment an unknown singer wonders on stage. They shyly introduce themselves and you fail to pay any attention to their name. They then go on to impress the heck out of their set and the only thing you’re thinking is “what were they called again?”
Indeed, if not for the merch stand selling T-Shirts with the name Devon Baldwin on them I wouldn’t have had a clue who this singer dressed in all white was who went on to deliver a set full of fervent songs and a lot of promise.
Devon Baldwin’s sound is one similar to the likes of Banks or Shy Girls, with rich, life affirming basslines topped with precise and subtle vocals. First song I thought “yeah, she’s pretty good,” by the third I was completely sold in.
The performance fizzled with refined charisma, a stage presence both friendly and sincere. She even took the time joke about her ‘one man band’ and had easily won the crowd within a couple of songs. The news she was a local girl, delivered towards to end of the set, received an almighty roar of appreciation to further cement her.
The songs made the set come alive; scrumptious and moreish, like a decadent Red Velvet cake. At times, so good I wanted to sing along without even knowing the words… or basic melody. It was that kind of set.
The crazy thing, and the reason why I’m getting a bit excited, is this was apparently only her 4th time performing her own music. This means there is bags more to come, and the potential is impressive. The sense of newness is still apparent with the giving away of unlabeled CDRs of her music after the show. A sign of things still being in motion, still being a little makeshift. That said the huge Blacked-Out SUV she disappeared in to after the show, surrounded by her people, suggests she might just be training for future stardom (clearly there’s no packing away your own instruments and taking the MUNI home anymore!).
My one wish is for her to play at least a couple of shows in SF over the coming weeks and months (if this was only her 4th show, imagine how good she’ll be after 9 or 10). There are just too many fantastic small venues in this town for her not to (and it is her home town after-all). There are a few more stops left on the JMSN tour (Pomona 4th, San Diego 5th, L.A. 6th) so I strongly advise anyone going down to get there early. You may just see someone who, if she carries on making music like she currently is, may be invading your radios and the wider collective consciousness pretty soon!