So what’s my Ben Folds experience? My first time hearing anything Ben Folds has composed was while watching the movie “Over The Hedge.” Ben is all over the animated adventure and adds the right elements for the strange characters, one of them voiced by William Shatner.
Speaking of William Shatner, Ben produced one of William’s recent albums entitled “Has Been.” I have my good friend and fellow Shure Artist Relations comrade Richard Sandrok to thank for introducing me to this record. It’s full of fun songs, some deep lyrical content and just plain craziness. The craziness comes in the form of a song called “I Can’t Get Behind That” in which Bill and Henry Rollins go off on all kinds of topics. If you are still reading this, take a short break and go to iTunes to download this entire record. It’s worth your time and money. Joe Jackson’s on the first track and Brad Paisley is on the last. The band is killer!
The other time I got to experience Ben Folds was when he was backed by the Nashville Symphony at TPAC in Nashville. Amazing show!
Back on track now….
So the title of this blog is Ben Folds Five, right? Never seen them before and I am not familiar with any of their songs. I do like it sometimes when I go to a concert that I am not familiar with the groups catalog. It causes me to pay closer attention to the show and the band rather than just rocking out and signing along. (I like those concerts too!)
I arrived at The Ryman in time for sound check where the group was joined by Ke$ha and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. They were working up a special cover of a Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn duet called “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.”
The opening act was an Australian singer named Kate Miller-Heidke who was joined by a great acoustic guitar player. Kate has had operatic training and works it very well into her material. During the set they rattled off a pretty funny version of Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady.”
When Ben Folds Five hit the stage to thunderous applause, Ben kicked it off and the crowd went wild. After the first song, he announced that this was their first tour in 13 years. As the show went on, Ben prepared for another song by installing mute’s on certain piano strings to get a muted guitar sound. As he explained what he was doing to the audience, a crowd member shouted out an exclamation of doubt. Ben quick shot back through his SM58 vocal mic “No, I’m actually going through a car wash backwards with a plastic bag over my head.” (crowd laughs) Then he proceeded to play the muted piano keys, which sounded exactly like they should and Ben said to the crowd member “See? No but that’s OK, I encourage ignorant heckling like that.”
Ben Folds Five is such a great band to see live because there is such a fun aspect to their personalities. People come to see great music and are treated to some comedy along the way. They have a few shows left in the States before they head overseas to Australia and then to Europe.