Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Concert Review: Ben Folds @ The AMP May 29 2009

By Mary Feild

With the right artist and a good beer, the Arkansas Music Pavilion (AMP) can be transformed from a mall parking lot to an exciting music venue far away from the JC Penny's entrance,and Ben Fold's performance this Friday was such an evening. Although Folds opened with some tracks from his most recent album, Way To Normal, he played mostly older selections throughout the performance such as "Annie Waits" and "Alice Childress". His honest song-lyrics have topics that range from the oppression one can feel growing up in middle-class suburbia to breaks up in which you realize your ex is insane, reach audiences of many demographics all of which were present at the AMP. High school and college students crowded the front of the stage amongst young professionals and parents with their children to watch. Throughout the performance Folds stood at the piano and was able to bring the audience to a state of elation usually not brought from a concert based around a stationary instrument. As he is unafraid to explore new piano techniques, such as a distrotion petal with the keys, he brings pop music to a new level giving us something that would never be found on the Top 40. His distinct voice and allows for creative harmonies, in which he uses to lead the audience in high school choir-like rounds for tracks like "Brick" and "Not the Same". The crowd Friday night joined in such rounds with little instruction from the singer, exhibiting his strong fan-base in Fayetteville. Throughout the evening Folds communicated with the audience so candidly that it was difficult not to enjoy the conversation as much as the music. As the evening came to an end, Folds concluded with an oncore of "Army" and "Fair", both tracks left the audience waiting and hoping for more after they were finished. As the lights came up and the concert-goers disbanded you could almost hear them thinking, "Damn, I hope he comes back soon."

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