Brendan Benson @ Oran Mor 17-10-09

October 26, 2009

BRENDAN BENSON
Oran Mor, Glasgow, October 17 * * * *

The last time Brendan Benson played Glasgow it was as part of The Raconteurs at the Academy. Tonight the Nashville-based songwriter, along with his three-piece band, appeared to promote his fourth album in the more intimate surrounds of Oran Mor.
His biggest solo gig to date in the city, Benson is obviously keen to build on the success he’s experienced with his other band, but with critics far from bowled over by My Old, Familiar Friend, replicating that success and moving beyond cult status looks unlikely.
With the exception of a handful of fairly routine pop-rock numbers that seemed to drain rather than galvanise momentum, it was by and large a good performance.
A lively start saw old tracks Folk Singer and Good To Me sit favorably alongside new offerings A Whole Lot Better and Eyes On The Horizon while crowd favourites Metarie and Cold Hands (Warm Hearts) easily stood out thanks to the energy of Benson’s delivery and the strength and subtlety of his melodies.
Choosing to add a rockier edge to the eagerly anticipated Tiny Spark rendered arguably his best song somewhat disappointing but thankfully a strong showing during the encore ensured a rapturous ovation on his departure from the stage.

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