Concert Review

Brendan Benson at Rhythm Room

Despite being best known by most as a member of The Raconteurs, Brendan Benson has not given up on his solo career.

In 2009 Benson released his fourth LP My Old, Familiar Friend on ATO Records. While most of the songs on the album are about romantic woes you'd never really know by listening to Bensons' power-pop spin on these songs. Benson brought these power-pop stylings to a packed Rhythm Room on Monday night in support of his latest album.

Benson and his backing band seemed genuinely surprised by the number of people in attendance last night but were very gracious and thanked everyone for coming out on such a chilly night in Phoenix. The group kicked off their set with the songs "Folk Singer" and "Good To Me," both tracks off of Benson's 2002 album Lapalco.

The rest of the set was played at a pretty fast pace and bounced around between all of Benson's four albums. The song "Sittin' Pretty" off of Bensons' 1996 debut One Mississippi even managed to grab a few cheers of recognition from the audience.

Judging by the huge tour bus parked outside of the Rhythm Room and the number of amps that had been placed on stage I would have to guess that Brendan Benson and band are used to playing venues a bit bigger than Rhythm Room. The sound was, too be honest, a bit overwhelming and a lot of the sweet pop sound that comes across on Bensons' albums were drowned out by the sheer volume being blasted over Rhythm Room's PA.

Despite the overwhelming sound Benson and crew still managed to put on a good set and the energy in the crowd was great. It was pretty clear that most in attendance last night where there to see Brendan Benson and not "the guy from The Raconteurs," which is exactly how it should be.

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Frank Fairfield and Brendan Benson at the Rhythm Room.

Better Than: Watching the Winter Olympics.

Personal Bias: I wasn't too familiar with Bensons' solo stuff until I caught the assignment to cover this show but found myself really enjoying his latest My Old, Familiar Friend.

Random Detail: I made a conscious choice not to mention that one guy from The White Stripes in my review. I'd guess Brendan Benson is pretty sick of always having that guy be a part of any conversation regarding him.

Further Listening: My Old, Familiar Friend is a solid album and well worth checking out

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Mike Escoto