Posts Tagged 'Ben Kweller'

Ben Kweller @ Paradise Rock Club – Oct. 16

I was that close.

Okay. So I am finally up after a night of singing-along and line dancing at the Paradise. Alright, I’m kidding. There was no line dancing, but there sure was a lot of Garth Brooks, “Thunder Rolls”, “Friends in Low Places” and such in the background before the show even started.

 

Now, if you live in Boston and go to concerts every now and then you know: people here don’t dance, don’t sing, don’t smile. It’s crazy to me, being from Brazil and all, that you would go to your favorite band’s show and wouldn’t want to, at least, smile. But yeah, that seems to be the standard indie audience behavior, specially if your ticket reads Museum of Fine Arts. Then my friend, you’re in for a great silent trip. Don’t dare showing emotions or else the next bearded guy will give you the look. You know. The Look.

 

against all Boston’s odds, people sang along

 

But good Lord, y’all, last night was different. A multi-colored plaid shirt-wearing, cowboy boot-strutting group of people sold-out the Paradise and made it feel like home. Don’t be fooled by the appearances though: you could still recognize the good ol’ Berklee student, with his black-framed Wayfarer-type reading glasses. Even the bearded guy was there. A little shy, in the back, drinking a PBR and trying to hide his copy of “How Ya Lookin’ Southbound?” in his back pocket.

 

 

Ben Kweller immersed himself in his true roots when writing his new stuff. On “Somehow”, the last and in my opinion most beautiful song in the EP, he says: “I got lost somewhere along the way / Oh, NYC is killing me”. The New York years definitely helped him build an identity as an artist, being influenced by friends from Ben Folds and Evan Dando to Albert Hammond Jr, opening for huge deal bands such as Death Cab and My Morning Jacket and leading him into the ultimate singer/songwriter growing move: the writing and recording of a whole album by himself: “Ben Kweller”.

 

Now, if the storm of influences fogged out young Kweller’s creative self, only time will tell. Critics were never too kind with the work he put out, but always made us hopeful that one day we could wake up to a grown-up artist who knew exactly where to go, and how to get there.

 

The release of the EP “How Ya Lookin’ Southbound? Comein..” marks the beginning of that trip. In the back of a truck, the destination was Austin, Texas, and the radio played Neil Young and yeah, Garth Brooks.

 

“eeeeha!”

 

Out of all Ben Kweller’s concerts I’ve ever seen last night’s was, by far, the best. The whole idea of bringing back his country roots to stage made complete sense and songs like “On My Way” and “Sundress” seemed to have always been written for the pedal steel. The setlist was a mix of all albums. He opened with “Fight” and closed with “Lizzy”. Strummed that guitar like no one else in “Penny On a Train Track” and “The Rules”. Kweller made people whisper along to “Thirteen” and yell “pa-pa-pa-pa” on “Falling” when he sat at the piano. Willie Mason’s “Waiter at the Station” is also a big part of the show. At this point, his fans made sure they knew the lyrics to that one, too.

 

Mr. Rich Hinman, pedal steel virtuoso.

 

 

 

At the end, Ben Kweller repeated once more how much he loves Boston and how meaningful the city is to him: this is where he met Liz ten years ago. With his family in the audience, he thanked and thanked and thanked the fans, who yelled back: “We love Dorian!”, his two-year old son, wearing gigantic ear muffs, watched the concert on his mom’s lap.

 

Looking forward to the January release of “Changing Horses”, that’s for sure.

On His Way

Last night I dreamed I was at some airport and bumped into Ben Kweller. He had his wife and kid by his side but apparently wasn’t going anywhere so we sat down to talk for a little while. Considering I’m a fan I didn’t really relax or stopped thinking about all the questions I wanted to ask him about his recent work. I tried to sound professional but always ended up feeling a little silly.

This has actually happened before, I mean, in real life. Back in February of ’06, I drove down to Connecticut to watch a concert and got there two hours early (at that point, I was only here for a couple of months and  wasn’t so sure about the distance between CT and Boston). When I got there, my curiosity led me into the auditorium and I ended up watching the whole sound check, no one else around. At the end I walked towards the stage and asked Ben if I could introduce myself – I’m not an autograph person. We talked about the coming album “Ben Kweller”, his fans in Brazil and took a picture. He is THE nicest guy in rock n’ roll, no doubt about it.

BK is coming out with a new album, “Changing Horses”, in September and I’ve been keeping an eye on the media for news. The other day the My Old Kentucky Blog posted a great review about one of his last concerts, in which he debuted a few songs off of it.

According to Ben, his new album reflects changes in many aspects of his life. He recently moved back to Texas, where he grew up. After living in New York for years, he’s been looking to buy a ranch and writing country inspired songs. The MYOKB interview also reveals the influence of the ‘truck driver culture’ over his new music: “..he will also release a tour-only EP entitled How ya lookin’ Southbound? Comein… (He was very specific with me about the punctuation and spelling on that title, being that it’s proper trucker lingo and all.)”

Here’s a video I found on YouTube of one of his new songs, “Fight”. That’s pretty much all we can count on at the moment. Kweller decided to kick off the “Changing Horses” tour in Europe and the album won’t be available before the Fall (Wikipedia is saying it will only be released on January ’09, but I’m keeping my faith here, if you don’t mind).

 Also, I found a BK version of Willie Mason’s “Waiter at the Station” and decided to add it to the post. Some blogs are saying it’s another new song, but that’s just poor research. The song is beautiful though, worth the download.

Ben Kweller – Waiter at the Station.mp3

#1

Oh, well.

I tried to start out with an interesting topic, I really wanted to go on and talk about how I’ve been obsessed with Joy Division and Ian Curtis and “Control” and the Documentary, and how I even bought the Newbury Comics “Unknown Pleasures” special edition beer mug. But I decided to talk about myself, like in a very persona-descriptive level, talk about who I am and why I am here and all those silly things that people usually do on the first day of class to introduce themselves, things they never thought about but when said out loud to new people could make sense – or could make you feel stupid. But let’s go ahead before I change my mind once more.

So this is the first time I write a blog in English but not the first time I write a blog. I’m Brazilian, been living in and around Boston for almost three years now and throughout this time I kept a record of all things around me – concerts, movies, tv shows, music festivals, etc – on a blog I created with one of my good friends, who writes back from Sao Paulo (my hometown). The blog is still alive.  Feel free to go check it out but please don’t ask me for translations. That’s the whole point of me writing a blog in english, not to mention that things I consider really exciting will be present on both ends, fo’sho.

Now,  the self descrition part.

I am 26. I grew up in one of the biggest cities of the world, and always loved it. I kept a diary from when I was 9 until I started my first serious relationship and life got a bit more complicated. I remember telling my mom that, if one day I had to move out of my city, I would go live in a different country and I was only 12.  I am not mentioning my early love for writing because I want you to think I’m a great promise or anything like that. I probably am the biggest Ben Kweller fan you’ve ever met but I’m not creepy. I am married and I still don’t understand the whole negativity about marriage, it’s truly great. I miss my friends and the parties and the language and my country but I’m also happy where I am. My favorite cartoon is Mafalda, from the Argentinian author Quino, she fucking rocks. I’ve been to my first music festival three months ago and was amazed by it. I am a full-on throwback and wish I could have lived in the 70s but then I think about my BlackBerry and change my mind. I love fashion and once I thought it could become my carreer but really, I only like to come up with good ideas to dress myself up. I am brunette. I love music but can’t stand people who consider themselves “music people”. Yeah, the BlackBerry was the reason for the blog’s title, but I also *LOVE* jam, gotta have it everyday in the morning, on wheat bread with a cup of coffee + cream. I love history and pop culture and think the combination of both is fascinating. I wish I went to the movies more often. I wanna go to Japan more than I wanna go visit my friends back home. I am a peoplewatcher but I also tend to dislike people who consider themselves peoplewatchers. I’ve been really into punk rock thanks to a summer class I’m taking. I like Holden Caulfield, Chuck Klosterman and Lester Bangs but that doesn’t necessarily translates my personality. I love dive bars, and Long Island Iced Teas. I also like bad beer, a.k.a. Bud Light and PBR and couldn’t care less if they’re not that respectable. I wanna get a dog and name it either Holden or Chuck but I will probably call it Lester. I don’t consider myself a geek but my friends probably do. I am just starting to get the American humor and learning to have fun with it. Finally, I decided to put everything I love and hate in the same place. That’s what this one will be about.

Welcome.

 Joy Division – She’s Lost Control.mp3