Saturday, May 21, 2011

‘ard of ‘earing - Rock n’ Roll is Free (plus shipping and handling)

My home for the last few days
The last few days have taken a bigger toll on my legs than my return to the moshpit a few weeks ago. Last month World Café Live at the Queen opened in downtown Wilmington. For the last few days it hosted the 11th Annual NON COMM vention (Non Commercial Radio). It’s a convention and industry gathering for non-profit radio stations, music labels and the like. There are also some music showcases and shows along with the usual convention fare like panel discussions and guest speakers. I volunteered for host radio station WXPN. Thursday was a long day and I didn’t get to really check out any of the bands. I returned to my post on Friday in hopes of seeing Ben Harper’s set. So while doing my duties I checked in Ben Harper’s road crew and then went to the front door of the venue. A little while later a cab pulled up to the corner and out hops Ben lugging his own suitcase. He peered in through the window and then went around the corner to the venue entrance. This all took only a couple of seconds and I didn’t even register that I could’ve gone over to him and see If he would’ve taken a picture with me. Oh well. I got to check out a soundcheck and a set from Delaware’s own New Sweden and then abandoned my post to go check out Ben Harper’s late starting set. Rumor has it the late start was caused by some jamming he did with Raphael Saadiq who was playing after him. I cannot confirm or deny that it happened but those kinds of stories are worth the innumerable times I climbed the steps of the building the last few days.
Setting the stage
The show was broadcast a part of XPN’s Free at Noon concert series. You can check it out over at NPR's Site. The whole show is there and sounded even better after a full night’s sleep. I was kind of tired during the show and after listening to it I enjoyed it much more. Granted I’m not standing in a crowded room after being on my feet for the better part of the prior two days. It was a short set geared toward promoting the new album. I was hoping for a couple of older tunes but he only had 35 minutes so it wasn’t going to happen. When Ben says “Oh no you didn’t” a couple of songs in it was in response to a lady who yelled “Play “So High, So Low!”. For a show in the middle of the afternoon it sounds pretty good. I’m looking forward to the full set later this year when they come back to Philadelphia in September.  I’m still not sold on the new album and like I said to one of my fellow volunteers, “If I knew he was only going to play the new album, I probably wouldn’t have listened to it on the way here.”
Ben & the Band Formerly Known as Relentless 7
Ben Harper at World Café Live – Wilmington, DE – 5/20/11
1.       Don’t Give Up On Me Now
2.       I Will Not Be Broken
3.       Waiting On A Sign
4.       Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn
5.       Rock N’ Roll Is Free
6.       Dirty Little Lover
Under the influence of the uke
So after that I went back to my assigned duties and then headed back to Philadelphia. I would’ve liked to have stayed and checked out a few more bands and was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to catch The Blind Boys of Alabama who played there Thursday (but I just found their set on NPR’s site too). I was excited as I had planned on seeing the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra with my girlfriend and some friends. I've mentioned their awesome aural assault before. They did not disappoint and the power of their 10 ukulele assault was complimented by an additional pair of ukes last night. They also included dueling baby tap shoe solos and a Theremin. Their shows just get better and better! They play traditional uke songs and I don’t know all the song titles, especially not the one sung completely in French, so my best guesses are in the setlist below. I also got to try out my new Iphone’s camera so hopefully these pics turned out alright. I’ll get back to regularly scheduled reviews when I get caught up on some sleep!

The banjo Uke he plays is even older than him

The Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra - The Tin Angel – 5/20/11
1.       Yes Sir, That’s My Baby
2.       If I Only Had A Brain
3.       Avalon
4.       French Song
5.       Yellow Bird
6.       When You Wish Upon A Star
7.       Dream A Little Dream
8.       Rose Of San Antonio
9.       Satin Doll
10.   Hello My Baby>Tootsie Goodbye>Susie, You Knew
11.   Nonsense Trio (including Sweet Violets)
12.   Carolina In The Morning
13.   Chinatown
14.   My Blue Heaven
15.   Lydia The Tattooed Lady

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