Sunday, October 2, 2011


First off: the reason why this is a partial review, and the reason why I barely posted anything in September, is because I was on the "disabled list." I'm out of the hospital, feeling better, but don't have the energy for a full show in a general admission venue. But I figured seeing some of the show was better than none.

Of course, that turned out to be true. Ben Harper, back with Relentless7, was rocking tonight. Ben and the 7 are better than ever.  The last time I saw them, it still felt like a new project.  Now, with two albums and a lot of touring behind them, they're a really tight unit.

They opened with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" which was excellent, and then kicked into "Glory and Consequence" which went into a cover of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy." Much of the show (at least the part that I saw) was material from Ben's albums with The Innocent Criminals, which is a change from the last tour, where he played mostly new material, and only played a few older songs. But R7 did great takes on the older stuff like "Faded" and "Diamonds On The Inside."  But their own material was great too - "Don't Give Up On Me Now" and "Rock and Roll Is Free" from his excellent new album Give Til It's Gone, and "Number With No Name" from White Lies For Dark Times are even better live than on the record.  I left the show during a long version of "Lay There And Hate Me."  Apparently, after that, Charlie Sexton sat in with the band for a few songs, but if anyone was at the show and wants to tell me what I missed, please hit me in the comments section.  I wish I could have stayed for the whole thing.

As much as I'd love to see Ben back with The Innocent Criminals, I've got to say that he and R7 have turned into a really great band.  I hope Ben works with both bands in the future (and of course I'd love to see him do more with his other group, Fistful Of Mercy).

I'd love to have been able to have gotten better pictures from the show, but my requests to the publicist for a photo pass went unanswered- even though I paid for tickets, and it would have cost nothing.  But you can see the fine work of No Expiration's official photographer (aka my wife): check out her photos from recent concert by  Tom Morello, Steve Earle and The Drive-By Truckers.

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