Published on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2016
Ben Folds with yMusic
Perth Concert Hall
A cello solo with an edge of dramatic horror welcomed acclaimed New York City orchestra yMusic to the stage, with all six members of the ensemble chiming in one by one for an organised yet chaotic onslaught that was the perfect blend of class and quirk for what was about to unfold.
When the man of the hour, scruffy and respectable, arrived with faultless opener So There, it seemed Ben Folds and his small army were Capable Of Anything.
Playing an “ironing board” of a keyboard that had “buttons and shit on it”, Folds scrolled through numerous tone presets, spinning well received improv jokes.
The crowd weren’t the only ones in stitches from Folds’ charming, casual banter, with the US singer breaking down laughing himself numerous times during Effington; perhaps the whisky perched in front of him had something to do with it.
Even punters who hadn’t heard the songs off Ben Folds’ and yMusic’s collaborative record, So There, were bopping along attentively to the upbeat Phone In A Pool and heartbreaking Mess. Through their contributions to career-defining hitsJesusland, Song For The Dumped and You Don’t Know Me, yMusic established a tight and elevating presence without being too intense, while punter requested Rock This Bitch “in Perth”, with an unconventional keys solo and improvisation from the orchestra almost gaining a standing ovation; something elicited with an insane jazz breakdown in Steven’s Last Night In Town.
With sad lyrics set to happy music, Ben Folds and yMusic created the soundtrack to your best worst day, producing hauntingly quirky art that resonated on a number of levels.