Ben Kweller + Young Revelry + Royston Vasie – Hi Fi Bar (05.03.12)

Kicking off the proceedings were local lads Royston Vasie who play generic pub rock with no strings and their set was pleasantly middle of the road. They were one of those bands who you listen to and instantly start picking apart their plethora of obvious influences, which in their case range from The Dandy Warhols to Happy Mondays to Dallas Crane with the band’s own sound being seemingly non-existent. To their credit they play well and it was good to see a band who obviously enjoy performing, but for me it felt like I was watching a cover band, which made for a really big ‘meh’ kind of moment.

Having caught Young Revelry at their Workers Club residency last month & experiencing a lukewarm reception to their performance, I was hoping for a better run this time around, but alas there was no joy on that front. Young Revelry have struck gold with their track “You and I”, which is easily their most accessible tune but the rest of their set was awash with loud distorted guitars that ended up sounding like one incredibly long song, without any of their psych jams to even out the mix.

I have no aversion to a heavier style of rock when it is played well, but Young Revelry had no intensity in their performance and their music isn’t strong enough to hold its own without showmanship from the band members – all of whom can play their instruments but are severely lacking when it comes to the entertainment factor. Front man Sebastian Astone seems plenty arrogant but fails in the charisma department and while the friends he’d brought with him were cheering energetically, I spent their set wishing I’d brought ear plugs with me to preserve what is left of my hearing.

Fortunately Texan sweetheart Ben Kweller never fails to deliver in the live arena and his set was brilliant from start to finish. He has the most engaging presence and when he performs he lives and breathes the music, completely losing himself in his sound and he shares his passion and energy in that moment with each individual in the room. His band are incredibly tight and have fun with Kweller onstage, with boys playing up to each other as they whipped the crowd into a swooning frenzy.

It was worth the price of admission just to see Kweller bug out over the weird delay with the keyboard and launch into an acid flashback story of his first ever solo trip that was interrupted by his Grandmother & resulted in an ambulance ride to hospital. He is a natural entertainer and even though he played for well over an hour, the crowd were still begging for more as the band bid us farewell at the end of their encore. Before leaving Kweller mentioned that they’ll be back to play a festival in November (hello Harvest!), so if you still haven’t seen this man live then be sure to catch him next time around as watching Ben Kweller live is as pleasurable and exciting as a new romance – which is something everybody needs to experience.

Set List:

Mean To Me
The Rules
Hospital Bed
On My Way
Out The Door
Full Circle
Jealous Girl
This Is War
Penny On The Train Track


Commerce, TX
Wasted & Ready