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Gig Watch: Ben Kweller - Live

By Sean Lynch

Download Album Here: Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
Purchase CD:  Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full

Ben Kweller Live

Ben Kweller played the show of his life in Ferntree Gully

It's not very often that you can single out a 'Musicians Musician'. A performer who weeds out the genuine music fans from the throng of "Tight Pants are Cool" posers that are currently running rampant at the various Indie nights being held across the country. Thankfully, Ben Kweller loves the music - as do his fans!

Bitterly disappointed at missing out on tickets to Ben's only show at The HiFi Bar in Melbourne I did what any self respecting BK fan would do... and trekked to Ferntree Gully (that old chestnut!!).

Preparing for the worst, I squished into a rather uncomfortable car with a few mates - expecting a journey that would involve several pit stops and perhaps pitching a tent and/or having to hunt a wild boar to tide us over until we got to 'The Gully'. Luckily for all involved, our ignorance of life outside of the city meant that the trek to 'The Gully' was less than forty minutes! In no time, we had arrived at, what looked like, a giant Mexican Villa.

Nothing against the inhabitants of Ferntree Gully - but I still question the reasoning behind choosing such a location for a second show. The venue was a weird hybrid of places. An RSL type pokies venue, mixed with a Pug Mahone's type Irish Bar, mixed with a local Scout Hall - and, of course, the giant Mexican Villa facade out the front. It was like the place was constructed by a builder with short term memory loss.

Braving a poorly cooked Chicken Parma in the RSL portion of the venue, we made our way into the band room. Immediately I began to get flashbacks of Blue Light Disco's and poorly constructed school gymnasiums - what the hell was BK thinking booking here!?! There was a giant signed Shannon Noll poster on the wall!!

We settled in with a few brews, and looked around the crowd (most of which looked like they had never heard of Indie-Pop music, let alone BK) and slowly began to question whether or not we were at the right venue. We double checked, and realising that our fate was sealed, resigned ourselves to the thought that "Well, at least the music will be good - and it will be an intimate show".

We weren't wrong. Ben Kweller burst out onto stage, ripping straight into the energetic I Need You Back. The sheer enthusiasm and on stage likability of Kweller is undeniable. He seemed genuinely happy to be playing to anyone who cared to listen - and more importantly - seemed genuinely excited about playing.

There were plenty of hits on offer including Falling, Wasted & Ready, Thirteen and Sundress - each delivered with as much energy and enthusiasm as the last. It's quite rare to see a performer give so much to an audience, and to be honest, it was nothing short of a pleasure to see such a sight.

Even when things didn't go as smoothly as BK would have hoped (most notably, his guitar strap snapping during a cover version of Ice Ice Baby - ultimately leading to Kweller having to play his guitar so high up that he resembled an early Elvis Priestley) he delivered with some fantastic audience banter. The problems with the strap led to a far more relaxed and fun-going set, which included an array of improvised cover versions of Nirvana and Pearl Jam tracks (something which the folk at the HiFi Bar didn't get either).

The night ended with the positively magnificent Penny On A Train Track, which since the gig has become my new favourite off the Kweller's third album. An extended guitar solo, as well as BK jumping into the crowd, jumping and playing with all those who were there to party. It was, without doubt, the best ending that a live show could possibly have.

It's one of the few times that I may utter this sentence, but, it has to be said:

I think I just had the best night of my life... in Ferntree Gully.

Ben Kweller Live in Melbourne
Ben Kweller : Live : Ferntree Gully

Ben Kweller delivered an energy packed live show

Overall: 95%

Download Now: Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
Purchase CD:  Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full

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