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« Review: The Hives @ Vic, 6/30 Review: Fitzgerald's American Music Festival, 6/29/12 »

Review Mon Jul 02 2012

Review: Brendan Benson @ Lincoln Hall, 6/28

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Brendan Benson (photos by Steve Stearns)

Over his career, Brendan Benson has transformed from a raw power-pop rocker to more of a traditional rock'n'roll singer/songwriter. But he hasn't forgotten what initially made him popular. Twenty minutes into Thursday's set at Lincoln Hall, Benson had played songs from each of his five albums and dropped in a Raconteurs tune, too. It's a far cry from some acts who don't stretch further back than one album live anymore. And it seemed like he knew what people wanted to hear, based on the cheers of recognition for older songs. Perhaps as a consequence of trying to appeal to everyone, though, the set list was pretty generic. Benson's released ten singles over his career. Eight made it into the short set. (Seriously, under an hour for someone with five albums?) That kept the evening sort of predictable and light on pleasant surprises. (When he played Schubas in 2009, an unexpected cover of Superdrag's "Sucked Out" was a highlight.)

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However, within those confines, Benson and his band performed well. New songs were kept to a minimum to maximize appeal. Downtempo songs were followed with uptempo ones. Momentum never really waned. ("Tiny Spark" revived the crowd from a brief lull.) Banter was never overbearing. The sound was terrific. Updated arrangements didn't veer too far, but Benson has clearly changed from how he played ten years ago. The high-energy power-pop tunes of Lapalco lacked some punch in the style of his latest material. That's not to say they're worse. They're just more laid-back and some older songs don't lend themselves to the style easily. But when everything clicked, as it often did with newer songs, Benson and his band shined.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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