Normally I would cringe to read a review written in the first-person, but that format seems quite fitting for this review of Ben Kweller’s sold out show at the Theater of Living Arts on April 17, as I, and those who stood near me, had an experience few others had.
It all started when I brought out my notebook between the opening solo act Adam Green, usually seen co-fronting the Moldy Peaches, and Kweller’s full-band set.
I had given up trying to get away from the obviously inebriated girl next to me, since I did have an OK spot to photograph from, and just decided to deal with her.
When she saw the notebook she asked if I was a reporter. She then proceeded to tell me she was Ben’s biggest fan, reminding me of this at least a half dozen times throughout BK’s set.
Considering her “biggest fan” claim, this girl spent a lot of time chain-smoking, looking for a light, making out with a boy who looked too much like Carrot Top and running to the bar for another drink.
At one point she put her head down on the stage and appeared to doze off until Carrot Top kindly got her up, then they made out again.
She occasionally sang louder than Kweller, and was right with the lyrics a good 75 percent of the time.
She also randomly shared unnecessary pieces of her personal life, which I’m still trying to wipe from my memory.
What sucks most about this experience is that it didn’t need to happen, at least not for me.
The TLA will oftentimes leave out the barricade for the more subdued shows, which is a bad thing for photographers, since getting a clear, steady shot in a crowd of moving people is not an easy thing to do.
I know many concert-goers don’t like the gutter, the space in front of the stage where bouncers stand and the lame-ass crowd surfers fall into, but it’s only when you’re an extra five feet from the stage that us photogs can actually maneuver for the shot.
I really made an attempt to ignore the girl until another nearby girl commented that drunk girl had to be in my story.
As great as the show was – and it was great – what stood out in my mind the most was the drunken girl and how thankful I am to not be her, oops, I mean to not have to stand near her anymore.
Complaints aside, the show was satisfying.
While many seemed to think opening act Kings of Leon should take its ’70s garage sound back to the shop, the crowd humored them with cheers and applause anyway.
Adam Green played a hilarious 30-minute set, including songs from past and future releases like “Mozzarella Swastikas” and “Jessica Simpson.”
BK played the eleven songs featured on their 2002 major label debut album Sha Sha, plus six songs that are basically guaranteed to be on an upcoming release, including “On Her Own,” which Kweller described as “our big country hit” before informing the crowd it was the first time they’ve played the song live.
Kweller’s 90-minute set, which opened with its heaviest rock track “Wasted and Ready,” featured a four-song encore that ended with “No Reason,” whose final line reads, “There’s no reason to say good-bye.”
Judging by the half dozen gigs Kweller has had in Philly during the past year, that line is a fitting close to a BK show.
Heather Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.