By Mike McKenney, Rock At Night New England
Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena-Uncasville, Connecticut-“Ben Folds” and “Violent Femmes” Co-headline at Mohegan Sun Arena-Savannah Conley – opener -Sunday July 28, 2019
Providing something for just about everyone, Sunday night’s Ben Folds and Violent Femmes concert at Mohegan Sun arena, offered an interesting mix of musical genres.
Up and coming singer songwriter, Savannah Conley showcased her beautiful vocals on “Same Old Eyes”, “Never Be Ourselves” and the dreamy “All I Wanted”.
Savannah, who is promoting her new EP “Twenty –Twenty”, appeared alone onstage with just a guitar and a magnificent voice that allowed her to capture the early arriving audience’s attention.
By the time she finished her short set, Conley, who has been named by Rolling Stone as an “Artist You Need to Know,” had made a lot of new fans. In stark contrast, one of the most successful alternative rock bands, The Violent Femmes, leaned back into 80’s with their punk/indie “Gone Daddy Gone”, “Kiss Off”’ and “Nightmares”.
The band today consists of singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, saxophonist Blaise Garza, and drummer John Sparrow. With an almost cult like following for the last 40 years, The Violent Femmes are well known for their unique song writing and unusual instruments. The provocative lyrics of “Black Girls”, “Jesus Walking On Water” and “Country Death Song” coupled with Blaise Garza’s 6 foot contrabass sax, and John Sparrow’s “jazz brush on barbecue grill” technique continue to set VF apart.
Fans were bopping and dancing in the aisles to “Color Me Once”, Everlasting You”, and the highly anticipated, “Blister In The Sun”.
Rising to prominence with the alt-rock band “Ben Folds Five”, the multi-talented Ben Folds has also enjoyed a solo career, and has collaborated with such disparate artist as William Shatner and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
On his Yamaha grand piano, Folds is a maestro, opening with “Annie Waits” and “Battle of Who Could Care Less”, Folds had a difficult time staying on his piano bench, often popping up to hammer the keys.
Known perhaps more for his quieter songs, Folds and his band played “Zak and Sara”, “Landed” and “Rockin the Suburbs” with great energy and precession. While Ben’s songwriting style often boarders on melancholy, he seemed to lean more on songs with humorous lyrics, while sliding in a few “F” bombs whenever he could fit them. He even performed a song he wrote “Mohegan Sun Theme” especially for this concert.
His best known hit “Brick”, a song based on the experience of Folds’ girlfriend having an abortion while they were in high school, had the crowd up on their feet singing.
The Ben Folds and Violent Femmes Tour continues throughout the summer.
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