Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ben Kweller points at another underage girl picked up by her mom at Sunday's
show at City Limits. Bubbly rockers and really, really tight pants were the
order of the evening. The ladies were pleased.
Kweller weird but engaging
Is he high, or is he just like that? I ponder this question every time he
plays, and I believe the answer will remain a mystery.
But when it comes down to it, it's Ben Kweller's ability to make a bad day turn
into a get-up-and-dance day that's important.
And for me, his show, held Sunday night at City Limits, was the perfect cure
for the back-to-school blues.
Although the intimate setting was much more inviting than his previous show at
The Marquee Theater in Tempe, he seemed to lack the intensity he had before.
His attempt to duplicate the raw, explosive jam session on repeated closer "No
Reason" was valiant but not quite up to par compared to the Marquee show-not to
mention his lack of interaction with fellow band mates on stage.
My favorite live music moments come when a musician gives you a taste of who he
or she is as a person and not just as a musician.
Quite frankly, this moment ruined the mood of one of my favorites, "Lizzy."
Kweller abruptly stopped the blusey intro to make a curfew- related comment to
a front row audience member who was leaving. He then went on to admit that he
was a freshman high school drop-out (explaining later that he did get his GED).
Kweller never waivers from solid vocal and musical delivery, but something was
off with the sound that night. Either the vocals weren't high enough or
everything else was overbearingly loud, but Kweller's rough yet melodic voice
was almost always drowned out.
Kweller did a nice job of balancing new material with old, but I would
personally have preferred more old. He even mixed it up with his unreleased but
well-known cover of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby," which he appropriately
renamed "BK Baby."
Despite technical problems, Kweller put on a unique and memorable show. He even
played an old request from the front row, "Problems." It's quite refreshing to
watch a musician who allows the audience to create some variety in the show.
But my biggest complaint goes out to the somewhat lifeless audience in
attendance. Whatever happened to a little body movement?
It's becoming rare to find a rock act that makes danceable music. Grab the
person next to you and take advantage of the mood Kweller creates for you next
Not only is his music boogie-compatible, his lyrics are honest and simple.
Kweller's music is so simple it crosses over to brilliance. Whether it's an
acoustic ballad or a blasting, distorted rock melody, Kweller never ceases to
deliver a fun and comforting package of solid music.
- posted by Lauren Hillery, 8.26.04