Ben Folds

“Rock this bitch!” Ben Folds had just finished his second song in the set after the intermission, when an audience member screamed out from the balcony, “Already?  We just started!” Ben Folds turned around to face his backing band for the evening, the venerable San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and said, “I should probably explain this.” In Chicago, years ago, at a live show, a fan screamed this out and Ben Folds wrote a song on the spot. Now, “Rock This Bitch” is a Folds tradition. He plunked out a concept, muttering something about jazz to himself, and then gave each section of the orchestra a different assigned part. With about three minutes of preparation, Folds had a melody composed, and assigned parts to sections of the orchestra. The cellos, violas, violins, bassoons, and percussionists all had their own parts to play, over which Folds improvised a jazz melody and lyrics that were part pontifications about rocking this bitch, part lyrics to the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, all backed by a world class orchestra.

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Ben Folds puts on his serious face before having an amazing time.

Ben Folds puts on his serious face before having an amazing time.

There was a moment during “Steven’s Last Night in Town” when Ben Folds, letting the San Francisco Symphony do its thing, turned toward the audience, put his hands on his knees and flashed a huge smile. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen him, and who can blame him?  Here he was, on stage with a world class orchestra, hearing them play the horn breakdown of a humorous song he wrote during a time when he was just another struggling Nashville musician. Now he’s on top of the musical world, playing songs that belong in the Great American Songbook with 100 great musicians and singers.  I’d smile, too. And I did. [read the whole post]

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Appearing at Neck Of The Woods on Friday

Appearing at Neck Of The Woods on Friday

Thursday, May 15th [read the whole post]

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Just Mika, some white lights, and those darned camera phones.

Just Mika, lit only by a single white globe that appeared to be floating in air, and those darned camera phones.

Mika burst on to the scene a few years ago with a sugary pop masterpiece, Life in Cartoon Motion, and his joyful and colorful live shows, chock full of balloons, confetti, streamers and a giant pop band behind him. Now, he’s on tour supporting his newest album, The Origin of Love, and he’s taking a markedly different approach. This show, billed as “An intimate evening with” saw him behind a piano for the lion’s share of the evening, joined only by Max Taylor and Curtis Stansfield on a variety of instruments. It was stripped down, and it was wonderful. [read the whole post]

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Appearing at The Regency Ballroom

There’s a whole lotta indoor gigs for you this week… Perfect for getting out of the brisk cold July air. Now, got get your groove on!

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Kate Miller-Heidke welcomes you with open arms.

Being blown away by an opener is a rare and wonderful treat. It happened a couple months back when I saw Ben Folds at the Warfield Theater. His opener, and tonight’s headliner, was Kate Miller-Heidke. She’s an Australian singer-songwriter with considerable talents in both. She’s smart, too, because on the merch table at the Warfield was a slip of paper to take home letting everyone know she was playing Cafe Du Nord in the near future. Her newly minted fans took that paper and came out to Cafe Du Nord last night, ready to blown away again. [read the whole post]

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