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Benjamin Wesley will blow your mind

Submitted by admin on April 30, 2010 – 2:08 pmNo Comment
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Last night I arrived early at Walter’s on Washington and my friend Mike, who does a lot the heavy lifting for events at Walter’s, graciously told excellent local musician, Benjamin Wesley, I was coming and to get ready for an interview. We pulled up some plastic lawn chairs, had a some cigarettes, and talked a little about who is Benjamin Wesley. He told me about his experience growing up interested in music but how, kind of like myself, he had a difficult time learning straight music theory so instead he mastered many different instruments just through self-instruction and experimentation. Ben’s exact words were that he learned each instrument “for the band” rather than in the classical sense of learning theory for the sake of theory. I was blown away by this; it was kind of like for me finding out that Thom Yorke doesn’t read music. Ben’s songs are so tightly composed and deliberate that I was only even more impressed to learn that he didn’t have an over-technical background.  Before embarking on his current solo project, Wesley played in bands Tha Fucking Transmissions and Bases Loaded who have opened for such high profile acts as the Fleet Foxes. He then explained to me the difficulties of succeeding as a musician in Houston and how even big name zines who do profiles of Houston music fail to do more than scratch the surface because “to them Houston will never be a New York, or an LA, Or an Austin”. For a talented, established, multi-instrumentalist and musician Ben was incredibly genial guy which seems like an increasingly rare quality on today’s music scene: local or otherwise.

Even without the great interview I would have gushed about Wesley after watching his set. Sticking mostly to acoustic guitar, Ben’s live music was some of the most complex I’d ever seen. He used live looping, drum machine, samples, and in one of my favorite moments during his set he played his guitar, very well, with a violin bow. I’ve listened a lot to his latest EP “Geschichte” but I’m terrible with song names even though so I can’t give you a set list but those of you not familiar with Ben’s work I’d recommend my favorite song of the EP “People will never stop being crazy” which you can listen to on his MySpace. His latest EP is available on iTunes, as well. Ben is one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen. I’m sure he’ll probably be doing another free show at Walter’s sometime in the next few weeks.

Electric Attitude went on after Benjamin Wesley and even besides their musical ability I must say, I was impressed with their presence. Their band was a traditional four piece outfit but with the addition of a sax player. I’ve never seen a group of men whip the woman at a show into such a frenzy. Basically every girl was dancing vigorously to the music. Blake, the lead vocalist, described his music to me as “Rolling Stone with some funk, blues, and jazz with a little bit of James Brown throw in” and after watching their set I’d say it’s a pretty accurate description. Blake’s vocals were some good, old-fashioned, blue-eyed soul, something that’s pretty rarely seen nowadays.

Roky Moon played last night too but unfortunately I started to feel not so good so I had to split before he went on but I saw him last week and loved his set, even though I wished it was longer.

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