Ben Christophers, Rotown, 3/11/2004

At one point, the bar staff STOPPED serving in order to listen to him sing. Beat that.

 

 

Right. First things first. I'm writing this on the train back from the gig in a state of total shock. Even with this in mind (the fact that I'm in shock), I still think it is only right and proper that I tell you lot, the impressionable, naive bunch that you are, that you will never, in all your wanderings through the gig circuit, hear a voice as remarkable as Ben Christopher's. It was gilded, that is (and I'll check the dictionary description), layered with gold. His voice alone conjoured up images of Pre Raphaelite paintings; Ophelia, and Autumn Leaves, or be-jewelled swans floating downstream.

 

For the more prosaic amongst you, the nearest thing I can think of musically is, (and now I shall descend into Mojo speak), Tim Buckley stirred together in a heavenly mix with Nick Drake. And I do not say that lightly, or in a yawningly retro rock style. I mean it. And if you have an ounce of soul about you, and value beauty in reality and not in the abstract, you will be on your knees shaking and trembling in ecstatic terror at the thought of such a union. You should also be cursing and sobbing over the fact that you didn't go. More fools you.

 

Aided by an acoustic, an electric, and a limited amount of software backing, he kicked up a storm. A quiet, intense storm. At one point, the bar staff STOPPED serving in order to listen to him sing. Beat that. The guitar playing was fucking righteous, intense, gentle; interwoven in the song structures in an almost sacred way. In total sympathy with his surroundings. Almost high magic. There is no point in writing further. I will be daring and say that listening to his albums, (especially Spoonface), excellent as they are, will not in any way prepare you for how good he is live. In fact it feels like a heresy to listen to the lps after that gig, and that's the highest recommendation I can give. Right, I'll go home and sit down.