When Ben Lee came onstage, the first thing he said was “I’m Ben Lee, and I’m from Sydney, Australia, and [turning to his band] these are my Soldiers of Bliss.” That was pretty awesome. I’d never heard him before–he plays the guitar, his songs are laid-back and catchy.
Ben Folds delivers awesome concerts. This was the second time I’ve seen him. He started with “Bastard” … he played “Brick” which I think is pretty rare right? … he played “Narcolepsy” which is one of my favorites … he ended with the audience-participation song “Not the Same” which is another favorite (stood on top of his poor piano to conduct us at the end). Ben Folds is darn fun to watch live. How can one guy have so much energy? He had a bassist and a drummer with him… I think I liked his solo show more, since he got to tell more stories and his piano-acrobatics were over-the-top and that much more noticeable. The crowd for this show was kind of weird. First of all, nobody was here during Ben Lee (poor guy, he kept saying “it is my goal to play the best music for filing in as I can… I want you all to be able to say that you had an exceptional filing-in experience”) and then not as many people sang along in “Not the Same” as in the other show I went to. Or maybe it’s just weird to hear a rock concert in a symphony concert hall. Oh yeah, some girl rushed the stage during “it’s hard to grow up” and was very very smoothly escorted (well, manhandled would probably be a better term? but it was so smooth) off of the stage by the “manhandle crazies who try to jump the performer” guy. That was exciting. Good morning son. I am a bird. I love seeing him in concert becuase he’s just silly. Oh and he did the dr. dre cover “bitches ain’t shit” … hahahahhahahahaahahahhaa that’s some conversation for your ass. And in the middle of his set he pulled out Rufus Wainwright (clad in green pants that he later changed out of, by the way) and they sang Wham’s “careless whisper.” Very funny.
Rufus Wainwright was too far away to see, but he must be hot because anybody with a voice like that must be hot. And what a voice. mbarrien and berkeleyjew didn’t care for him but I liked him. The complaint was that you couldn’t tell what he was saying, but I don’t mind that, I can never tell what anybody is saying to me anyway even if they’re not singing. I just really like his voice. The only songs I knew of his before tonight were “hallelujah” and the song about the windmill wings on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack in french (which I liked a lot). It’s strong and steady. (Except for once when he faltered transitioning to a note a step up after a sustained one at which point he said “yikes!” and “well I’m not a diva yet” in the middle of a phrase. I guess we are all fallible.) What a voice. […I looked up what he looked like. He is eccentric: not everybody is brave enough to pose as a fallen knight, or write songs about a gay jesus. Not as hot as I’d hoped (god I hope he never reads this, in my infinite egomania. Vienna Teng’s story ending with “if she were hot I’d totally be stalking her” comes to mind. Livejournals are stupid. No, blogs are as smart as the people who write them), but hotness-quotient fulfilled with that one black-and-white photo where he’s wearing a polka-dot suit.]
“Quick notes” my zonkey.
I think the girl rushed him during “Gracie”.
“Hallelujah” is actually a Leonard Cohen song. Still, a pretty good cover, I agree.
Yeah, it was definitely during Gracie. Which was especially weird, because it really sounded like a “father-daughter tenderness” song (as opposed to an “I’m the most talented and desireable object in the room” song).
It wasn’t designed to make people fling themselves at him, anyway.
Sounds like a fun concert!
It wasn’t the unintelligibleness that made me not like him that much, it was his general boringness. 🙂 Yes, not being able to understand a thing he was saying added to the boredom, but I wasn’t particularly pulled in by his performance. Maybe it was because he was the last guy in a long concert, or maybe because he had a bad set order, or maybe because he was just following the much crazier Ben Folds set, but I didn’t like him as much.
And it’s hard for me to get excited by someone’s voice when he doesn’t ennunciate his words.
I’d give him a second chance before I completely write him off (just like I did with Tim Barsky’s beatboxing flute. I didn’t outright say he sucked until the second time I saw him.)
Exactly. None of his songs pulled me in like Ben Folds’ did.
He had a nice voice, but that had nothing to do with my reaction. He didn’t entertain me–he put me to sleep, literally.
Had you ever heard Rufus Wainwright’s songs before? I find that when you aren’t familiar with an artist, you’re a lot less likely to enjoy their stage show. A lot of his stuff is pretty melancholy and contemplative, but he has some upbeat, funny stuff too. One that comes to mind is “Instant Pleasure.”
The chorus goes like this:
“I don’t somebody to love me
Just give me sex whenever I want it”
It sounds kind of callous and dumb, but it’s so happy-sounding and it has this really catchy beat and a downright viral melody.
Woops that should have been “I don’t WANT somebody to love me”
No I haven’t heard Rufus Wainwright’s songs before, but neither have I heard Ben Lee’s, and a majority of the songs that Ben Folds played that night either. Ben Lee had a good sense of humor about his opening the show to an uncrowded house, and had funny interactions with his band. Ben Folds, well, was Ben Folds and completely crazy. They drew me in.
In this specific performance, Rufus Wainwright had none of that. I’ll give him another shot, but still, he was frankly boring at that concert to me.
I totally agree that knowing an artist beforehand makes a huge difference in concert. However, I had heard Rufus before (and own his Poses album) and also saw him in concert before. He does have a great voice. But to me, there’s no question that a) his songs are not as good as Ben’s b) his state magnetism is not as good as Ben’s. Ben is just more *alive* on stage, for the sad songs and the happy songs.
The two times Rufus approached that, I thought, were on “California”, a great song, and on the cover of “Hallelujah”. The rest… pretty blah.
Yeah I don’t know. I’ve never seen him in concert, and having seen Ben Folds before, I know what you mean that it would be hard to match that type of energy.
I want a zonkey.
Guess what? i got cat form, and the first thing i made it do was sit and revel in it’s cuteness!
Ben Lee. Is he the one that does the song that goes “That’s the way I like it, that’s the way I like it”?
I think you’re thinking of the Backstreet Boys.
Um… no. The Backstreet Boys song goes “I want it that way.”
Angela’s right; Ben Lee has a song with the lyrics “that’s the way i like it, that’s the way i like it” called “catch my disease.”
itunes preview (since I don’t know how else to reliably point you to a clip of the song): http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=45442595&selectedItemId=45443990
Ooh, I love Rufus Wainwright’s voice. He did a cover of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” for the I Am Sam soundtrack which is just beautiful. Remind me to send it to you!
I also really like Rufus Wainwright’s voice. It’s beautiful. I also think the I Am Sam soundtrack is quite superb. I’ve never seen the movie though. I hear the story is that they shot the whole movie using the actual Beatles songs, but couldn’t get the rights to them. So they asked other artists to perform covers of them with the requirement that the songs be the exact same length/tempo as the originals (because they’d already choreographed the movie that way). Interesting. huh? But what a rambling tangent.