|Banjamin Booker, solid at The Roxy last Thursday|
@ The Roxy Los Angeles, CA.
As I texted to an old friend last week, Coachella is a place of DEAD DREAMS, so I'm stoked not to be there. It doesn't mean I'm uninterested in the proceedings. We've got Apple TV and you can watch the streaming You Tube channels using "Apple Play" and the quality is quite good. I'm comfortable asserting that I'd rather watch Coachella on my couch then actually be there. Coachella brings with it a panoply of warm up gigs, gigs in between show weekends and post-Coachella tours, and so I found myself at Thursday nights warm-up gig for Benjamin Booker at The Roxy in Hollywood.
Benjamin Booker is another artist managed by Monotone, the company my gf works for- she doesn't work with Benjamin Booker, but I know his manager and he is a cool guy. Seeing the working of the music industry at this level of professionalism is eye opening, largely in a positive way, though the nameless horror is always close at hand. For example, seeing a show in Hollywood, where the nameless horror practically stalks the street.
Fortunately the show was on a Thursday so Hollywood wasn't in full flag. The Roxy is a decent sized room (500 capacity?) with not one but TWO separate VIP sections overlooking the main floor. Colin Hanks was there. This was my second Colin Hanks sighting (Queens of the Stone Age Halloween Show.) Benjamin Booker played a crisp, energetic set. I'd heard he was suffering from strep throat but you couldn't tell, and he didn't complain. Booker fairly exudes a level of professionalism far beyond his place on the indie league table.
His music is a mixture of trad rock, punk influences with a distinctive mini-set of fiddle based folk tunes providing the punctuation to break up the sameness of his standard sound. Booker plays as part of a three piece- he plays guitar, then a bassist and a drummer. The bassist and drummer both also play the fiddle for those bits. Booker's voice is gruff, I sense that his delivery was no doubt impacted by the strep throat, but that his vocal style lessens the difference between how he sounds sick and how he sounds well.
He wasn't particularly mobile on stage, but he exudes star-level charisma. The audience was super excited to be there. They left happy and enjoyed the show. The bottle service menu for The Roxy was hilarious, but I would probably think ANY bottle service menu at a rock club is hilarious. Benjamin Booker is no doubt on track for a major label or equivalent career and has the potential for real staying power. He needs some hits though because I didn't hear one last night.