Ben Kweller @ The MOD Club (Photos and Review)
26-Feb-2009 08:00 pm
Contributed by: pete
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.
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.
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.
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.
Info: The Watson Twins | Connect: MySpace
Media: How Am I To Be (mp3)