Ben Folds with the Grand Rapids Symphony

Last weekend was my birthday (I am now 40, woo) and as a treat my folks took us to see Ben Folds play with the Grand Rapids Symphony. It was a great show!

Ben Folds with the Grand Rapids Symphony

Ben Folds brought a selection of his Ben Folds Five songs that have been orchestrated, in addition to a movement from the piano concerto he recently composed. I haven’t listened to all of the recent BFF albums but I knew almost all the songs they played, which was nice.

They only played one movement of the piano concerto – this seemed to have been Folds’ choice, I’m guessing maybe because they only had a few hours to rehearse together? Or maybe he is concerned that his pop audience won’t make it through an entire three movements? (I think they would have – the audience was super receptive and appreciative throughout the show.) The movement they played, the third, was fun, bright, and energetic. There were a few nods to Elfman (I thought, anyway) and a general feeling of homage to the Beatles’ A Day in the Life (though slightly less cacophonous). He gave a brief introduction to what a piano concerto is, for the benefit of audience members who may not have had much in the way of classical music knowledge, and kept a great sense of humor going despite some stern/fun-refusing faces among members of the orchestra (maybe they just felt that it would have been unprofessional otherwise, but a number of the musicians seemed pretty stone-faced).

One of the highlights of the show happened when someone in the audience loudly shouted out, “Rock this bitch!” Folds started out by explaining the background and then asked the contrabassoon player to replicate a lick Folds played on the piano. The contrabassoonist gamely figured it out in just a couple of tries and then Folds added in other instruments with different, complementary licks, adding up to a pretty neat little eight-bar (I think) bit. He added in the chorus so that there were some lyrics (“Rockin’ this bitch in G-Rap with an orchestra”) and then after the symphony got it down, Folds improvised some on the piano and encouraged a few of the orchestra members to jump in with improv as well. It was really fun to watch and hear and I feel like it loosened up some of the players as I could see smiles during and after that piece.

Folds returned to the stage for an encore with the orchestra and then returned again for a few songs on his own. It was a really fun show and I’m so glad we got to go!



Today was super busy, hence this super late semi-lame post. I did some gardening despite the extreme humidity, we did a bunch of laundry, and then had puppy kindergarten. After that we hightailed it up to Lansing for Skatey-Eight practice at Dan’s (survived a mega storm en route – actually had to pull over for awhile!) and then back home again tonight. Whew!

Since I hate to post without a photo, here’s one that K took while we were rocking out.

sk88 2011-05-29



guitar & amp pr0nI’ve been watching VH1’s 100 Greatest Bands of All Time and it got me thinking. Not so much about the bands I love (most of which have never had the mainstream popularity to end up on a list like this, not that I’m complaining), but those I hate but others love.

There’s one band I truly can’t stand: The Doors. The awkward-teenager-poetry lyrics, the endless meandering songs that go nowhere, the pompous posing…I could go on but I don’t even want to think about them. I’m sure that for many people they have a lot of redeeming qualities, but I don’t even care to know why anyone thinks they’re good.

What I do want to know about is: what band do you hate? Answer the poll to the left and comment here. If your hatred band isn’t on the poll, who is it? I’m here to hear it, people: spew some venom!

photo (CC license) by Marco Raaphorst


punk rock for everyone

There’s a lot of awesome punk rock music that for various reasons isn’t appropriate for all ages. Sometimes it’s language, sometimes it’s content. In any case, I’m always on the lookout for punk that is appropriate for everyone, and I just found something new:

The Boogers claim to be the World’s Most Dangerous Kids Band. Could there possibly be a more perfect name for a punk band for kids than The Boogers? Seriously!

Paul Crowe, aka Crusty Booger, seems to be the Jim Gill of punk. Crowe is a PhD in developmental psychology with a talent for translating his academic expertise into kickass music that kids love (and that has hidden benefits for the kids who listen).

I have now set my sights on getting The Boogers to play at my library, perhaps for a summer celebration, so lots of people could attend and we could all completely rock out. I’ll also be picking up their album, Road to Rock, for the library’s collection (and perhaps for storytime wiggles).

Hey Ho! Let’s Go!

via Kids Music That Rocks