Sunday, 18 October 2009

Concert Review: Brendan Benson/Cory Chisel

Sunday, 18 October 2009
So, on Friday 16th October a few of the lads from work and I went to The Sage, Gateshead to see Brendan Benson.

Permission for a slight digression? There aren’t that many of my favourite bands left that I haven’t seen perform live. If you read my last post it won’t come as much of a surprise to you to hear that my aforementioned appetite for music has a suitably associated ‘live shows’ offshoot which, over the years, has taken me from festival to coffee house and everything in between. Suffice it to say there are only a small handful of bands that still remain on my wish list and Brendan Benson being one of those, I can’t tell you how delighted I was to finally be able to cross him off!

Before I tell you about the gig, I mustmustmust tell you about the venue. Has anyone ever been to a show at The Sage? Oooh, though!!

The Sage, Gateshead, UK

It’s that lovely curved glass/stainless steel building you see pictured above; it’s a purpose-built “acoustically perfect” music venue, and features all kinds of performances from symphonies to rock concerts to percussion workshops for toddlers and all sorts of lovely stuff. Despite it being about 15 minutes from my house, I’d never been for a gig there... having only ever went actually inside once when it was first built (with Jason and Ben as a toddler, when Ben was in a difficult phase of liking the sound of his shouts in any echoey building; needless to say we didn’t stay long!) but the Brendan Benson gig was in Hall 2, about a 400-seat capacity ten-sided room with seating on three different levels. It was like going to a gig inside a spaceship! Almost beyond description, I felt like I was inside a gigantic coffee machine -- click here to do a 360 degree virtual tour and see what I mean.

Anyway – back to the show. BB was supported by someone I had never heard of before – a guy out of Wisconsin, USA by the name of Cory Chisel. He looked like Dave Navarro’s skinnier younger brother but with a voice reminiscent of the best bits of Tom Waits and one of Newcastle's favourite sons Eric Burdon (of “The House of the Rising Sun” fame). Poured into a pair of grubby skinny jeans and a hat on top, he had us all captivated with an acoustic set; just him and a guitar, with backing vocals/keyboards provided by the beautiful lady you see in the video to follow. Hope his record will be available over here soon, but for now check him out on YouTube – totally loved him -- let me know what you think:

BB and his band came on at 9 o’clock and it was a disastrous start. The excellent Mr. Benson needs to sack his roadie, because when Brendan ripped into the first chords of his opening track it was apparent straight away that his guitar was totally wonky out of tune! Ooh, he looked so pissed off -- understandably – what a way to start a show! My heart just went out to him, he looked so disappointed.  He stopped the other guys with a raise of his arm and needed a few minutes to tune up. I felt so awful for him; how embarrassing! I was right at the front too, see?

Crappy phone shot... but elbows-on-stage close up!

But ever the professionals, they started again and delivered a really solid set... good amount of between-song banter and he even played requests for tunes shouted out by the members of the audience – EVEN ME! My favourite track – “Crosseyed” made up part of the encore:

Brendan Benson has all my favourite things in a musician: jangly guitars; narrative lyrics; whistleable melody... with the odd chord progression that pays cheeky homage to The Beatles thrown in now and again for good measure. Most of you will only know him as a member of The Raconteurs but his solo stuff is leaps and bounds different from his work with them, I’ve always thought. Much more melodic and layered, the depth of what is going on in all his compositions is really beautiful; he’s not afraid to bear all... for me that’s what makes him and his music so endearing.

It was a great show in a fab venue and he could have played for another couple of hours and I would have happily stood and listened. I even got a set list at the end. Yay!

Here’s another favourite track called “Metarie”. Enjoy! Go out and buy all his records!

7 people had something to say about this...:

giantlawnmower said...

Thanks for the review!

Completely agree with everything you said about BB. Seeing him in London on Wednesday and now I'm even more excited than before.

Lis said...

I really enjoyed Cory Chisel. I can see why you like Brendan Benson.

David Hudson said...

Hey there! It was me that requested Crosseyed! Got a few quizzical looks from people in the crowd so glad to hear you enjoyed it anyways!

Nicola Proctor said...

HAHA! I =thought= I could hear people yelling for the same song! Nice one!

David Hudson said...

It was a shout off but after that bloke got two in (Metarie and Cold Hands...) and started getting a bit cocky about it, I was determined to get a request in! Considered Insects Rule, which would've been good, and also Gold Into Straw but finally settled on Crosseyed and glad I did.

Anonymous said...

Hello. i am the one who asked for 2songs and got them... all by myself. You're very welcome.

Nicola Proctor said...

Are you guys gonna arm wrestle? ;-)