Photos and words by Leslie Kalohi
Promoting last year’s release, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, Ben Folds Five played the second of three SoCal dates at San Diego’s House of Blues. As expected, BFF started the night off with a track from the new album, “Michael Praytor, Five Years Later,” before jumping into “Jackson Cannery” from the group’s self-titled debut, much to the delight of the crowd. “We didn’t rehearse any blues for you. I understand we are in the House of Blues,” joked Folds from behind his Baldwin piano while song requests from fans were shouted at him.
The 90 minute set was fairly mellow at its core, focusing on the intricacies of the latest record and recognizable hits from trio’s most successful album, Whatever and Ever Amen. For the most part, BFF plowed steadily through song after song, pausing only briefly so Folds could offer a story about two Japanese fans who came to the band’s hometown of Chapel Hill, NC in search of them and fellow residents, R.E.M.
BFF finished out the main set with highly energetic fan favorites “Philosophy” and “Army,” before returning with a strong encore of “Underground” (a song I haven’t heard in over a decade since it requires the vocal stylings of bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee) and “Song for the Dumped.” Honestly, the price of admission alone was worth it for me to hear “Underground” live again.
Ben Folds Five play again at House of Blues Anaheim tonight, and I’ll also be back for more.
Michael Praytor, Five Years Later
Hold That Thought
Selfless, Cold and Composed
Missing the War
Battle of Who Could Care Less
Draw a Crowd
Diamonds at her Feet (Muddy Waters cover)
Thank You For Breaking My Heart
Do It Anyway
Song for the Dumped