Skip to content

Concert review: Ben Kweller at In The Venue

by on May 1, 2012

All of us music geeks–and I’m including everyone who reads this in that tally–have a musician or band that we think should be WAY more popular than they are.

Among those on my list is Ben Kweller, a power-pop-lovin’ dude who I first saw about 10 years ago touring in support of his solo debut Sha Sha, playing a show at DV8 (or whatever it was called in 2002). The singer/songwriter has a knack for writing insistent pop-rock hooks, a way with sentimental lyrics and a winning stage presence that would seem to combine for big things. Somehow, those big things have eluded Kweller to date, which is how I found myself at In The Venue, on the small/Club Sound side, to see him in 2012.

Now in his 30s, Kweller has spent the better part of two decades as a touring musician, from his years leading Texas-based rockers Radish (remember them? Ya, me neither) through his adult years and a series of albums that feature some rock-solid pop songcraft.

Kweller’s skills were on full display at his show Monday at Club Sound, in front of an audience that would surely be much bigger had he found his way onto people’s playlists before they latched on to whatever flavor of the week/month/year has come along to cloud their judgement since Kweller arrived on the scene.

Kweller’s charm can be easily capsulized in this moment from Monday night. His band bailing to hang backstage, Kweller sat at the piano and recalled a boy who had written him an email asking to propose to his girl at a Phoenix show. The now-engaged couple were in the audience Monday in Salt Lake City, and Kweller dedicated “Thirteen” to them, as well as the tune “Lizzy” (the bride’s name) shortly thereafter.

Kweller and his three-man backing band sounded good throughout Monday’s set, from the churning “Wasted & Ready” to the piano-driven “Gossip” from Kweller’s latest album, Go Fly a Kite. “Falling” was a tasty burst of power-pop bliss, while “On My Way” showcased Kweller’s skills as a balladeer.

From beginning to end, Kweller pretty much ruled the stage. He’s got some awesome rock-dude moves, some mean guitar licks in his bag, and a bevy of solid tunes to get him through a 90-minute show. He might never blow up to take the baton from lesser pop-rock performers who have somehow achieved greater popularity. but for those who have been turned on to Kweller, there is some comfort in being part of a semi-exclusive club of Kweller worshippers. If you have the chance to see him in a venue the size of In The Venue again, take advantage of it.

From → Concert reviews

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: