Benjamin Booker at Lee’s Palace

April 7, 2015 at 1:31 am (Uncategorized)

The oddest thing that happened to me when I went to Benjamin Booker’s sold-out show at Lee’s Palace this past week was I got asked for ID at the door. Now, either this is a new guy on the door with rather poor eye-sight or the lighting outside is extremely flattering.

When I walked into Lee’s openers Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs were already half-way through their set. The band looked as if they had invested into some bearded hipster fantasy, but they rocked a lot harder than that. Garage punk? Power pop ‘n’ rock? Dunno. You should listen to their current album from Bandcamp where you can also get the first one for free.

Olivia Jean formerly of the Black Belles was up second. There’s a bit of a retro-vibe about Jean, but it wouldn’t be successful unless the songs were there. Jean played a good amount of  her Third Man debut Bathtub Love Killings, and generally built on the momentum from the opening act. The sound was a little muddy at the beginning with the vocals too low in the mix, but by the middle of the set, things were humming nicely.

Booker came on stage just before 11.  The three piece band played a furious garage-blues. Like Jean’s set, the sound was not so great at the start, but within a few numbers, everything was up to speed.  Not that it would have stopped Booker anyway. He tore up the stage, blasting through his album. Oddly though, the most powerful moments were mid-set in a song where Booker put aside his guitar and was accompanied only by fiddle and guitar, Booker stalked the stage in a drone-based  country epic. Didn’t catch the name of the song, but perhaps some helpful attendee could supply it. And then it was done. No encore, and we drifted away.

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