Gig Watch: Ben Kweller -
Download Album Here:
Ben Kweller played the show of his
life in Ferntree Gully
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
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,
- 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 delivered an energy packed