Ben Kweller | 08.29.07

kwellerAlthough he was animated, it was not the Kweller of the past.






MoJo's, Columbia, Mo.       

Although in my past you could have called me a huge Ben Kweller fan, my love for his music is fading. Despite my growing apart from Mr. Kweller, I have seen him live many times and it is hard for him to disappoint. This August evening in Columbia was the exception for me, although Kweller came out with a strong presence and won the crowd over easily.

His set began with the older, electric songs that won me over as a high school kid years ago. The now three-piece band was energized and commanding attention. Although he was animated, it was not the Kweller of the past. I would say of the many times I have seen him, this may have been the worst. It is almost as if Kweller has grown up and decided to calm down a bit.           

When Kweller traded his electric guitar for an acoustic as the two other musicians left the stage, the crowd seemed to not pay attention. In my experience, when a truly great artist plays a quiet acoustic song, the crowd will hush and listen. This was said about Elliott Smith and his overwhelming power over the audience. Kweller does not command such attention as an acoustic act. I think many began to lose their concentration on the music and Mojo's turned into a social venue.         

Once Kweller decided to switch back to electric, the audience became re-energized.  The next few songs would linger off into long, overdone jam sessions that were great for about two minutes. Finally, to end the show, Kweller decided not to leave the stage and do an encore, but rather to just play the last song.  Many fans were in disbelief at the end of the song, but it was over. | Alex Hodschayan

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