Experience chills with our highlights of Ben Howard‘s second night at the sold out Troubadour with Bahamas, #afterthebreak…
Ben Howard At Doug Weston’s Troubadour
Special Guests: Bahamas
West Hollywood, CA
Five things that lets you know you’ve visited the Troubadour too much:
- The parking guy across the street knows you’re name.
- You always arrive 45 minutes after the doors open to beat the feverish crowd
- You don’t even mess with upstairs. Because Standing Stage Left, against the wall, is always the best the spot.
- Best time for merchandise is right before the encore.
- Most importantly, you know…beyond a shadow of a doubt…nothing is going to start on time.
Oh, if it wasn’t true. Concerts take time. I get it. For everything to be perfect they need it. And last night was no exception. After the Bahamas’ killer set, which I’ll get to in a minute, there were some technical issues that needed to be resolved before Ben Howard and company made their way onto the Troubadour stage for their second sold out show in two days. It drove me close to insanity watching the roadie test the pedals focusing on every precise chord. Thought he was stalling until a second personale joined him. Then I accepted.
That didn’t stop the sold out-overly excited-electric crowd from hooting and hollering for Ben in boredom. The wait would be well worth it as everything sounded fantastic from the pit. My only major beef was that I didn’t have more time for the haunting-goose bump raising howls. More on that coming up.
Time to focus on Afie Jurvanen and his critically acclaimed Juno nominated brainchild — Bahamas. A name that conjures up various images like dancing palm trees, sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, passionate punch flavored liquor, beautiful suntan bodies, burning bonfire…you better have gotten the picture because I wish I had all those things surrounding me during their set. Was tempted to run to the bar and order a ‘Bahama Mama’, just to give me that much needed little piece of tropical heaven in WeHo.
Afie’s Roy Orbison-Neil Young-Chris Isaac-Willie Nelson inspired electronic strings & bluesy lyrics over Felicity & Carleigh backing soulful ‘oooo & ahhhhs’, complemented by Tait’s pounding drums mixed into the perfect combination. There was nothing overly complicated about it at all. Just riding on harmonies to the beat of touching lyrics and having fun playing great music. A fact not lost on the all the swaying couples holding each other close around me. Very touching site to be apart of.
On any other night, these Bahamas could’ve headlined the Troubadour to a sold out crowd of their own loyal followers. Nevertheless, Jurvanen and company was the perfect compliment to Ben Howard’s naturally raw act we were about to witness. It was like arriving on a tropical beach before entering a looming forest full of mysteriously mystical wonders. A ‘beach’ you’d dream of forever. Hoping to return to, someday. Like an episode of Lost! (lol)
Luckily for you…their new album — Barcords — is out now! So you can live in self made imported paradise forever. I am!
I’m sure you want to hear more about that dark mystical forest full of Wolves, Old Pine, Diamonds, Black Flies, and ‘Fear’ful Promises … all manifested by 25-year-old British songwriter — Ben Howard.
Still don’t know what hooks me more…the dream-like beats, the howling vocals, the poetic lyrics, or the deep passion…all I know is the minute I heard “Only Love” a few weeks ago I haven’t stopped. A part of me wants to revert to primal state when I listen to his new record, “Every Kingdom“. An album that is probably the bastard child of long lost happy Damien Rice record that we’ll never hear. Sorry. It’s hard not to compare the two. The raw intensity felt in each interlude takes me back when I first heard ‘O’ as a twenty-something. Ben’s song are really magnified takes on love.
Sadly, Ben Howard’s voice is not like Damien, Nick Cave, Ed Sheeran, Mumford or his sons. In a good way! Can’t put a finger to it. The words escape me. Whatever it is, it’s magical. A soundtrack, hopefully, the rest of my life will be played too.
And with that and fueled by intense passion, Ben took the stage of the ‘Godfather of all Hollywood Music Venues’ for his second sold out night. A dream situation not lost on the handful of performers who have come before on this sacred ground.
There was one exception. He wasn’t going to sing his viral cover of “Call Me Maybe” either. A song choice that has haunted him till this day. The girl next to me debated whether to scream out the request with her friends until blurting it out just before his performance of “The Fear” (which you can watch by clicking the link. I shot it, poorly.). You have to applaud her bravery despite already knowing the answer was going to be no. She did a get a flirty invitation out of it. And we got a few chuckles.
The jokes and stories kept coming while keeping his head down. Smirk on his face. Also, spoke of his California surfing adventures.
Ben went through all my favorite tracks from “Every Kingdom” in quick succession joined by his triple threat band — India Bourne on Cello / Guitar / Vocals & Chris Bond on drums / bass / vocals. What I loved was their on-stage chemistry. You could tell they were quite close as they raised the level on each song. Felt like a competition between friends as they screamed at the top of their lungs and pounded on their instruments. Gave me chills during The Wolves. It made up for the lost in time.
Again, my biggest regret…that is totally out of my control…is that I wish I stayed to the conclusion. Kept saying, “just a few more seconds”. Didn’t last. Tore myself out of the ‘Kingdom”s forest and back to reality. Like to think they are still performing. Somewhere. Stuck in a moment.
Now that’s some fantastical gibberish.
You’ll be hearing more from Ben, India, Chris, Afie, Felicity, Carleigh, and Tait in the future. Just happy I got to be apart of that select group to see them before the rise. For they kicked off this upcoming awesome summer with a bang!
Troubadour, you did it again. Don’t worry. We won’t be seeing you for awhile. Until next time…
[PS: sorry for typos!]
Quite Good. Ticket Value was $15 with Scalper price being inflated to $40-50 by showtime. Luckily, thanks to Twitter, The Troubadour released a few spares at the normal price a few weeks back and was able to cop one. Not sure if I would’ve picked one up otherwise. That’s the biggest issue with any ‘high end’ blogged about artists…they sell out even before you heard of them. However in the aftermath of last night’s event, I would’ve paid a $100 bucks to experience the same thing over again.
Ben kept everything low, and I was too far away to use manual/raw which made 75% of the all the photos blurry. Chalk this up to big heads in the way. Seeing how the Troubadour is my ‘home court’ , I’ve shot with worst light. My favorite shot from Ben’s performance is the first shot in the slideshow. The way the spotlight was directed mixed with his unique use of his guitar really left a smile on my face this morning.
Surprisingly, very proud of the Bahamas photos directly below. Don’t know what happened, but it’s all unexpected magic. (Also helps when artists wear white! Just saying.) Enjoy the slideshow!
==Picture Selects – Bahamas==