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Ben Kweller @ The MOD Club (Photos and Review)

27-Feb-2009 01:00 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Ben Kwelller
Ben Kweller
The Watson Twins
The MOD Club in Toronto, Ontario on February 22, 2009
Full Photo Set (17 photos)

Getting out to see Ben Kweller in the same week as Ben Folds meant two Bens in one week, but I'm still one Ben short of The Bens, a collaboration between Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, and Ben Lee that included an EP and a tour of Australia. If only Ben Lee was in town this week as well, I could've recreated The Bens 2003 tour in my head. Although I've been a fan of Ben Kweller for over 5 years now, this was my first time actually making it to one if his shows.

Ben Kweller

Since this was my first time getting to see Ben Kweller in concert, my not-so-secret hope was that he would play some of my personal favourites from two first albums, such as I Need You Back, Hospital Bed, and The Rules from On My Way, and/or Wasted And Ready from Sha Sha, or maybe even his single Tylenol. However, I suspected that with the recent release of his 4th full-length album, Changing Horses, the set would most likely be based around the new material. As it turned out, of the 17 songs only 6 were from Changing Horses, and all three previous albums were well represented in the remaining 11 songs, with a little more weight given to his 2006 self-titled album.

Ben Kwelller  Ben Kwelller

Ben Kwelller  Ben Kwelller  Ben Kwelller

It also turned out that it didn't matter that most of my early favourites weren't on the set list, except The Rules, because Kweller and his band delivered all the planned material brilliantly. The older songs had been slightly altered to better match his current sound, something I always appreciate, and the songs he chose to play were all excellent selections that flowed from one to another really well. Kweller spoke quite a bit between songs, including about his guitar tech who couldn't make it to the Toronto show due to an expired passport. He also joked about himself always having to count his way into songs or else missing the timing. Oh, and he made a noticeable error near the end of one song (I think it was On My Way), afterwards laughing and explaining that he got distracted by remembering that he told someone he would put them on the guest list, but then forgot. He clearly felt bad, and hoped (out loud) that the person managed to get in. This resulted in a funny exchange between Kweller and one audience member who, despite his initial declaration, was not, in fact, the person Kweller was thinking of.

Ben Kwelller  Ben Kwelller  Ben Kwelller

Ben Kwelller  Ben Kwelller

The set included three songs played solo by Kweller, including Thirteen (from Ben Kweller) and Living Life (from On My Way) on the piano. The last number of the night was Penny On The Train Track, played bigger than it sounds in the recorded version. Even though I was initially a little concerned about how Kweller has altered his indie-rock sound to include a country-rock slant, he and his band couldn't have delivered the material better, creating a truly awesome concert.

If you're interested to know where Kweller's recent inspirations come from, have a look at Mixtape: Ben Kweller.

Info: Ben Kweller | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Wasted And Ready (video)

The Watson Twins

I realize this is going to sound a little stupid on my part, but I was surprised to discover that The Watson Twins were actually twins. I had heard the name but really just thought it was a band name, not based in reality. But there they were, two tall and striking women on stage, singing some pretty decent folk-country music, and being undeniably twin-like.

The Watson Twins  The Watson Twins

Info: The Watson Twins | Connect: MySpace
Media: How Am I To Be (mp3)

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Ben Kweller @ The MOD Club (Photos and Review)
Authored by: Anonymous on 27-Feb-2009 05:15 AM
1) I've been looking up pictures from the Mod Club show and waiting for some really good ones to come out. Clearly, yours are wonderful. So thank you so much.

2) I've been following this blog for a while now, and I totally remember you from the concert. At one point you shimmied over to the right side and super politely moved in front-ish of me to get a better angle. But you were so, so courteous about it. So I just wanted to say thank you for not being one of those photographers who assumes that just because they have a camera or a press pass they can push in front of anybody without a second thought. And plus I could tell that you just genuinely loved Ben's music.

3) That show was so amazing. I've been a BK fan for about 7 years now but this was the first time I was able to see him live, [I just turned 19 this past summer] and even though I knew he would be fantastic, I was just so glad that he was as personable and charming onstage as he is on album. I was hoping they'd play Hospital Bed or Wasted and Ready, too. But one of the things I keep telling people is how impressed I am with the breadth of material they played. I was also worried it would all be from the new album, and before Sunday I wasn't totally sold on the album yet. Obviously, that show just solidified its great timelessness. I am completely into it now. It totally renewed my obsession with him and his music. Every year or so I just re-realize how big a part of my life his music is. Whenever I listen to him it's just so comfortable and familiar. I started a music club with my friends [like a book club, but with albums] and a couple weeks ago I did Sha Sha. Proud to say there are two more BK lovers in the world now.

4) What's "Tylenol" and where can I hear it?

I'm sorry this went on for SO LONG but I just absolutely adore Ben Kweller. He's one of the most genuine artists out there. And his band is totally great. That story about Liam/Noel Gallagher saying the opening band sucked... Great. So great. All time great.

So thank you so much for posting the review and here's to the first Ben Kweller show, and here's another for many more shows in the future.

-Alie
Ben Kweller @ The MOD Club (Photos and Review)
Authored by: Anonymous on 27-Feb-2009 11:18 AM
Great classic acoustic guitar from the first concert's singer.

curso de vigilante
Ben Kweller @ The MOD Club (Photos and Review)
Authored by: pete on 28-Feb-2009 12:32 AM
Hey Alie, thanks for the note, I really appreciate it.

Sometimes a concert can change the way you listen to an album forever. Okkervil River has done that to me in a big way, as have a few other bands.

I picked up Tylenol on iTunes in 2004, but I see it's not for sale anymore, so I have no idea where you can get it now. If I find somewhere, I can let you know... email me (see my Contact page).