Ben Folds @ the Forum, Melbourne, 6 April 2005 PDF Print E-mail
Archived - Archived Gig Reviews
Written by TK   

"I think I need love to melt the wax in my hair", the lead singer of Gelbison told a somewhat disinterested crowd early in the night at the first Ben Folds concert.

I think he meant to say ears, not hair.  However, it was still an odd suggestion.  I was fascinated by the lead singer's personality and at one stage thought I had happened upon a Woody Allen scene such was his musings about love and death.  Unfortunately, his band's music was not as interesting as his thought process.

That is all rather insignificant though, because the crowd had come to see Ben Folds.  Before the show, I was a little in the dark about Ben Folds.  As I was struggling to find a park, I realised I only knew "Brick".  When I walked into The Forum which was full of Ben Folds look-alikes, my ignorance of his music was a real concern.

By the end of the show I was sold on Ben Folds and now understand people's obsession with him.  He plays a unique fusion of pop and rock all centred on his amazing piano skills.  Pianists are usually overshadowed in the Rockstar-stakes by guitarists; however Ben Folds overshadows everyone.  His combination of wit and crowd-involvement means that he is playing with the crowd, not only to it.  At one stage an audience member teased Ben Folds about his new home, Adelaide.  Ben Folds humoured the would-be-heckler by performing a self-deprecating song about Adelaide and its "churches and mass-murderers".  Completely off-the-cuff and Comedy Festival material!

The highlights of the show for me were "All U Can Eat", "Someone Cooler Than You" and "Brick".  He sampled great material from the album "Songs for Silverman".  But undoubtedly his take on Dr Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" was the ultimate crowd-pleaser.  Every member of the band got involved in the song's rendition, including the drummer who had a particular penchant for rap.

The Forum accommodates a large crowd, but retains its intimacy which aided the crowd's enjoyment especially with the $4 stubbies and Ben Folds' crowd-involvement.  At one point he jumped on his piano, flinging his arms around exuberantly while conducting the crowd to say "ahhhh" at differing pitches.

The crowd's enthusiasm for the night was encapsulated by the raucous noise for an encore, which may have even shaken the wax from the hair (or ears?) of Gelbison's lead singer.

 
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