Review: Ben Folds Five at O2 Academy, Birmingham

Ben Folds should save some talent for the rest of us.

Ben Folds Five

The piano-rock, rock, pop-rock – whatever you want to call it – singer/songwriter from South Carolina is back.

Basically, if a trio of middle-aged men can pull off a double bass on stage and still look good then they’re doing well.

It was the return of the Ben Folds Five – with Darren Jessee and Robert Sledge – at Birmingham’s O2 Academy last night, 13 years since they first split up.

Folds himself has gone on to a fine career since – the brilliant Landed was the only solo song meshed into last night’s set – as the band focused on their previous hits.

Missing the War, Selfless Cold and Composed and The Battle of Who Could Care Less were belted out with the gusto of the 1990s.

New album The Sound of the Life of the Mind was well represented but old favourites Narcolepsy, Evaporated, One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces and Brick - arguably the band’s biggest hit - were gratefully received.

Pianist Folds’ geeky deviation from the plot is part of the charm and his mid-set story about Sonny Bono and Elvis’ verbal sparring after briefly messing up one track went with the flow.

Finishing on Army, one Folds performed at solo gigs, underlined its popularity with audience and band. As if it was needed.

By Nick Mashiter

Image courtsey of Jason Meredith on Flickr.

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