Ben Folds

support Kate Miller-Heidke
author AP date 01/03/11 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

One cold Tuesday evening, your trusted metal and hardcore specialized scribe was taken out of his natural habitat and placed in the midst of checkered shirts and thick-rimmed glasses for experimental purposes. Although initially uneasy in this strange setting, the subject quickly became acclimatized and blended into the indigenous population as though he had belonged there all along. There was a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing, plotting to unleash its metallically predisposed critique on the unsuspecting hipster crowd. But lo and behold, there was little to lament...

Kate Miller-Heidke

Opening the proceedings tonight is Australian born Kate Miller-Heidke, accompanied by her husband Keir Nuttall on guitar. Being a classically trained vocalist who decided to pursue a career within alternative pop music, Kate's singing is expectedly high-grade - but also strange. She tackles traditional issues such as regrets and love with a contemporary twist, contorting the classic break-up song to a modern Facebook tale about a friend request from an ex-boyfriend ("Are You F*%king Kidding Me?"), and modifying a generic song about past mistakes into full-fledged self-irony with a short memoir of Wendy, whose bad day Kate went on to make "even more shit" in order to feel good about herself. All this happens within a variety of vocal styles ranging from operatic to masculine falsetto and backed by Keir's notoriously unorthodox acoustic guitar playing (not to mention his comically severe faxe expression throughout). Despite my profound lack of experience in the art of the acoustic, suffice it to say that Kate Miller-Heidke is one of those musicians that truly deserves to be called unique. Her music, though invariably mainstream, is smart, dark and full of earnest emotion and humour; a fact fully acknowledged by the maddening response from the crowd.

Ben Folds

But the main attraction is, of course, the legendary singer/songwriter and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, Ben Folds. Armed only with a piano and microphone, his performance is inevitably monotonous and a privilege for the few tall enough to see the sitting middle-aged man. For the rest of us, the experience is more auditory. But considering that there is very little to look at bar the physical passion behind every lyric and piano key, simply listening to Ben Folds is a sufficient alternative. The crowd stands enamored as the 44-year old mage takes us through two hours worth of his extensive backlog, and welcomes his colorful stories about performing on the same line-up, and consequently slandering, KoRn with a distressing amount of enthusiasm. Metal is generalized into vacuous anger; but I hold back my resentment because despite his prejudiced attitude toward the genre, the man speaks and performs with admirable confidence and exerts a certain authority over the venue. Tonight is not about metal, or any other genre, band or musician for that matter - tonight is about surrendering to the beautiful, soulful, intelligent piano rock of Ben Folds; forgetting about daily life, and becoming one with the music. It must, however, be said, that almost any concert becomes too long at two hours, and Ben Folds could have pulled off a much more climactic feat had he limited himself to an hour-and-a-half.

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