Ben Westbeech played his first London headline show – shame that most people seemed to be there to continue ongoing conversations with friends….
Last night saw Ben Westbeech’s first headline show in London, at Camden’s Jazz Cafe. Despite being two of only about 10 people there when my mate & I arrived, by the time Ben came on there was a nice little buzz, following a great jazz/soul set by his ‘boss’ Gilles Peterson.
The band opened with a live rendition of a house version of So Good Today which was interesting for the trainspotters in the crowd like me, but meant that half the audience didn’t seem to realise that the show had started till half way through the 2nd song.
Whilst Ben sounded great, and the band were very tight, they didn’t seem to get the audience fully on side till the last two tracks: the awesome live version of drum & bass stormer Get Closer, and a ‘proper’ rendition of So Good Today. There were some nice touches such as a drum work-out to close Pusherman, but overall there was something missing (maybe the drum & bass outro they added to Taken Away when I saw Ben at Ronnie Scotts).
I still have high hopes for Mr Westbeech, but as my friend said after the show, he might be better making more of his seamless blending of drum & bass & hip hop with the live band. Here’s hoping that the (seemingly imminent) 2nd re-release of So Good Today will give him the push he needs to cross over into mainstream success.