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Ben Kweller

Saturday, March 2

Fans of the extinct Metroplex band Radish are keen to know what former front man Ben Kweller is up to now that he's a grizzled industry veteran. Kweller has since set up shop in Brooklyn. As evidenced by his solo debut, Sha Sha, the 20-year-old is emerging as a songwriter with a penchant for brightly melodious, hook-laden ditties about being wasted. Though his PR folks have floated the term "anti-folk" to describe Kweller, the sentiment rings hollow. After all, his tunes are driven by a comforting interplay of melody and words, and um, isn't that kind of like folk music? Though Kweller has been breaking in material with solo gigs, this tour with a band is more of the real deal. The full arrangements emphasize Kweller's combination of old-school Billy Joel verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge composition and clean pop harmonies that crash headlong into crunchy guitars, ass-kicking drums and loopy Replacements-style stops and starts in mid-verse.

 
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