[Photos courtesy of Dino Perrucci Photography]
As someone who spent their college years in North Carolina at the turn of last century, Ben Folds Five has always been special to me. A native North Carolinian introduced me to Ben Folds’ music, and the themes in the music – romantic frustration, fear of consequences, and straight-up rage at lovers who jilt you – found natural purchase in my young self. I saw the band a bunch of times between 1997 and 2000 in my then-home state, outdoors and on the quad, at the Cat’s Cradle and the Ritz. Folds and his band never disappointed, and his confessional lyrics – delivered with catchy, approachable piano melodies and vocal harmonies – were easy to sing along to (or not, since I was usually taping). It was a fitting soundtrack to a certain time of my life, made more special because the band were local boys done good. I’m sure their songs blared in my car stereo at one point or another on every state on the Eastern seaboard.
While Folds has continued with his solo work, BFF itself had not played a show together since 2008 until they took the stage on the Saturday of this year’s Mountain Jam in Hunter, NY. The memories came flooding back quickly as Folds began to pound out the opening of “Jackson Cannery” and by “Battle of Who Could Care Less” (always my favorite BFF song) I was back in full-on nostalgia mode. The band sounded as good as ever (even if the house mix did them no favors), and they gave fans a mix of their bigger hits like “Brick”, “Battle of Who Could Care Less”, and “Army” with older favorites and deeper cuts “Where’s Summer B.?”, “Uncle Walter” and another of my favorites, “Emaline”. More than a decade after their most significant albums dropped, no band is really doing what BFF is doing (please don’t bring up Billy Joel), and it was a thrill to see them doing their thing again. Even better, Folds indicated that the band will be putting out a new release some time soon. The band will be back in NYC for a Central Park show on September 14 as well.
I recorded this set with AKG 414 large diaphragm mics in “wide cardiod” mode. The first 15 or so seconds are marred by me making some adjustments to my preamp levels. After that, the only significant flaw of this recording is the overblown house mix, in which the distortion-pedal-driven bass guitar was at times too high in the mix. With those caveats, enjoy!
Stream “Battle of Who Could Care Less”
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Ben Folds Five
Hunter, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
AKG C 414 B-XLS (wide cardiod, OTS, 12ft, A-B)>Aerco MP-2>Edirol R-44 [Oade Concert Mod]>24bit/48kHz WAV>Audacity (set fades, EQ, tracking, amplify and balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 1:23:43]
01 Jackson Cannery [fades in]
02 Theme from Dr. Pyser
05 Selfless, Cold and Composed
06 Uncle Walter
08 Where’s Summer B?
10 Battle of Who Could Care Less
16 Alice Childress
18 Song for the Dumped
22 One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Ben Folds Five, visit their website, and purchase their official releases, including their recent Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective, at their online store [HERE]