13 Nov 2006

Ben Folds at SUNY G

I haven't been to a concert since seeing Jurassic 5 at Higher Ground two days before coming back to school. Actually I lie, the Spin Doctors came to our school for Yellowjacket Weekend in the fall, but since I only watched while they played "Two Princes" (their one hit song), I don't really count it. So I was excited to go see Ben Folds last night in Geneseo, but also a little worried that I wouldn't be able to handle two hours of his music. There's only so long I can listen to songs that are overwhelmingly piano without needing a break, Billy Joel being the exception. No need to worry, though, the concert was really awesome. The show was sold out, but we had a really good spot about 20 feet from the stage. The audience was energetic and as Ben himself remarked, the acoustics in the gym were really good.

He played a good mix of stuff off of his new and old solo albums, and threw some Ben Folds Five stuff in there as well. Sadly, he didn't play "Brick," but he did play my second favorite song "Landed," from the album Songs For Silverman. He got the crowd going for the instrumental part in the middle of "Army," and also for his infamous cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit." He also covered "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service, which has one of my favorite music videos of all time. Call me a nerd, but the way they set the silicon wafer manufacturing process to music and then put it in the much greater context of the universe at the end is genius.

During the night he occasionally played a synthesizer, sometimes at the same time as the regular piano, other times to interpolate a funny solo into the middle of a song. He was able to get some really cool effects out of it, at one point producing an entire disco beat with just one key. He also used it for a pretty sweet drum-off with the real drummer during the middle of a song. I was surprised by how much energy the show had as a whole. Ben Folds always strikes me as a laid-back artist; most of his albums are pretty tame. But he had some pretty crazy piano solos during the show, playing chords that seemed like they should have needed more than ten fingers. I couldn't stop nodding my head.

The unsung hero of the show was Corn Mo. He came out dressed like Elton John but holding an accordion, and began to croon into the microphone while playing long notes on the accordion. I immediately pictured him being booed off of the stage. But then he broke it down! He had a cymbal that he could play with his foot, and he started singing about lollipops. The song was completely ridiculous, but he was so into it that it was awesome! He proceeded to sing us many songs about his strange life in public school, including how one of his friends named Jason peed on one of his other friends named Jason. I highly recommend that you visit Corn Mo's site and listen to "Lollipop" and "The Day Jason Kline Cried," although they were infinitely better live. We had the chance to buy Corn Mo merchandise and actually meet Corn Mo himself after the show, but unfortunately we did neither. Maybe next time.

I wasn't supposed to take pictures, but I did anyway. That's Ben sitting at the piano. Please don't sue me.

Ben Folds