Monday, September 17, 2012

Ben Folds Five brings new songs, classics to Cary

All photos by Kevin Norris
Reunited Chapel Hill-born piano pop trio Ben Folds Five returned to the Triangle Sunday night in support of their first new album in 13 years, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, out on Tuesday, September 18.

The band opened their set with a nice, mid-tempo new song, "Michael Praytor, Five Years Later" before launching into the instrumental "Theme from "Dr. Pyser"" and the rocker "Jackson Cannery."

Among the other new songs in the set were the fantastic ballad "Sky High" and the title track from The Sound of the Life of the Mind which features lyrics by Nick Hornby.

While the new songs were good, the crowd was clearly there to hear the classics. Old tunes like "Uncle Walter," "Alice Childress" and "Emaline" received warm responses.

Before playing the final new song of the set, "Do It Anyway," Folds warned the crowd that they may play the song too fast because he really had to use the restroom. But at the suggestion of someone from the crowd who yelled "Bass solo!" the band rocked through a quick jam started kicked off by Robert Sledge, giving Folds a chance to rush off stage. It turned into a fantastic jam.

The band rounded out their set with some fan favorites including their biggest hit, "Brick," as well as "Philosophy," "Army" and "Song for the Dumped." The band veered off of their predetermined set list to close out the main set, playing "Narcolepsy."

As the band returned for their encore, they opened with the old favorite "Underground" which was complete with some shouting of "Who the fuck are you?" in the intro, echoing the live recording featured on Naked Baby Photos.

The band really let loose during their final song, "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces." Sledge bounced around the stage, Darren Jesse killed the drums (like he did all night) and Folds ended the song with his old signature move, throwing his stool at the piano.

Overall, the set was fantastic, though it felt a big stiff at times. As the night rolled on, the band seemed looser and that's when the jams and banter began and things picked up. The closest they'll get to a hometown show on this tour, Folds spent a good portion of his banter recounting show's they'd played at Local 506 and the Brewery, and giving shout outs to other bands that also came up in the mid-90s like Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Southern Culture on the Skids.

They proved they've still got that old magic and hopefully they'll continue to make music together. We certainly hope they'll return to the Triangle again soon.

Set list
Michael Praytor, Five Years Later
Theme From "Dr. Pyser"
Jackson Cannery
Erase Me
Uncle Walter
Alice Childress
Sky High
Battle of Who Could Care Less
The Sound of the Life of the Mind
(Bass solo jam)
Do It Anyway
(I Didn't Mean to Eat the Bug jam)
Song for the Dumped (w/ Purple Haze)
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

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