"No one has been able to explain to me how that happened yet," says Vetiver front man Andy Cabic. He doesn't know why the Casbah billed Devendra Banhart as part of the lineup in promotions for the band's January 22 show. Vetiver, a rock collective based in San Francisco, has a rotating cast of musicians. Neo-folk solo artist Banhart has played with Vetiver in the past, but not on any dates on this tour.
"I e-mailed my booking agent, and he said he didn't tell anybody that," Cabic says. "I think promoters like to sell tickets, and they know they'll sell tickets really quickly if Devendra's name is on there...."
According to Casbah owner Tim Mays, "Vetiver's booking agent, Todd Cote, whom I have known and worked with for many, many years, said that we could advertise Devendra as a band member if we listed all of the other band members as well. This is the way the show was advertised on our website and also on our printed monthly calendar. [Other] ads, where space is limited, listed only Vetiver. A few days before the show, I checked with the booking agent to see if Devendra would be performing with the band. The agent was not sure whether he would be performing or not but thought that he would be because he was supposedly performing with them at a festival up the coast earlier the same weekend."
As Vetiver played, the crowd dwindled when more people realized Banhart wasn't there. When Cabic acknowledged the misunderstanding four songs into the band's set, about 10 or 15 people left, but most of the crowd that remained cheered. A handful of people asked for their money back and Mays obliged.