Ben Folds

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Ben Folds


Ben Folds’ music has struck a nerve with young and old over the course of his 20-odd years, and was welcomed by a room of cheering fans as hesat down at his piano. He opened on a much smaller scale than was hoped for, playing a few tracks from his latest album Lonely Avenue, which was written by High Fidelity author Nick Hornby. It wasn’t until Gone from 2001’s Rockin’ The Suburbs that the crowd started to get vocal, singing along as Folds impressed on piano and electronic keyboard.


In between songs he chatted away, explaining the stories behind each one and giving us even more reason to appreciate the music. He explained that before starting the tour, they couldn’t decide which song to cover as part of the set. So he and the band decided to perform whatever was number one on iTunes at the time. In this instance, that song happened to be K$Sha’s Sleazy. We were treated to a jazzed-up version with bassy-vocal backing and a rapped verse from Folds.


They followed this with a series of lesser-known songs from albums Songs For Silverman, Way To Normal and Lonely Avenue. During Songs Of Love (a cover from Irish band The Divine Comedy), Folds was joined on stage by the lovely Kate Miller-Heidke (who also supported). She continued with backing vocals on the lovely From Above, which you can expect to hear on an indie rom-com sometime soon, and took over Regina Spektor’s part for You Don’t Know Me. While Heidke and Folds weren’t as compatible, she still made the song her own with some impressive high notes at the end.


Afterwards, she and the band left the stage, leaving Folds alone at his piano. He played some unreleased material, which was entertaining but not incredible, and came across strangely amateurish compared to how he sounded with the band. Luckily this was short-lived and they soon joined Folds again to deliver all his biggest and best hits, including Annie Waits, Army, Rockin’ The Suburbs and Underground.


After leaving the stage to thunderous applause, Folds and his band returned for the much-anticipated encore – starting with an impromptu version of Rock This Bitch, inspired by a drumming circle they saw in St. Kilda.


To end the night, Folds sat back at his piano for Zak & Sara and Philosophy, complete with an extended instrumental section that incorporated his own B-side Theme From Dr.Pyser and Misirlou (best known from Pulp Fiction). It left everyone in a rather excitable mood and after sobering up, me with the tough decision of calling it a night or heading to a bar to start again… I chose the latter.


Loved: Ticking a big name off my ‘must see’ list.


Hated: That he didn’t play One Angry Dwarf – one of my favourite songs of all time.


Drank: Nothing during the show… as that how the venue rolls.