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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Ben Harper, the awesome guitar of a boomer with a sharp fang


Advantages of timeless music. Benjamin Charles Harper is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of his debut on stage, but today is also the day he is fresh, active, agile, vibrant and inspired. Watch out, Ben: the apostles of the prescribed insult may call you a boomers, an accusation, from what we understand, very serious. But the wild Californian musician would do well to dedicate a hall to him speak loud, mutt to the advocates of ageism, who are many, or very loud, or very stupid, and maybe even a little bit of everything at the same time.

Harper had the guts to open the party Monday at Botanical Nights Below sea levelthe same piece with which he inaugurates his newborn Bloodline maintenance: a short and delicious introduction sung a cappella. There are six musicians twirling around a pair of microphones, singing at the same time and getting along and interacting as officiators, which is one of the noblest and most exciting professions mankind could imagine. Therefore, the probability of making mistakes and making mistakes, misjudging harmony, doing something different than the day before and what could happen at a later date, multiplies exponentially. And all that, not to mention how spending in the Excel locker sends up those six mouths that harbor the purpose of daily nutrition with some regularity and decency. What nonsense this live music, right?

Luckily, this illustrious 52-year-old gentleman, who has gathered almost 3,000 acolytes in the Complutense University Botanical Gardens, seems ready to face the consequences of such a suicide attempt. And blessed be the secular gods of live music, those before whom there is no need to balance terminology, who beg for unusual polysemy in extreme cases to the RAE or even suggest the invention of new words. Benjamin – call him an outsider – doesn’t need treatises on those who just wore the great boredom propagators. A few electric guitars are enough for him (the conventional and the Round steel, underscoring his status as the consummate teacher), a pair of red-hot amps and an undying desire to hold your nose. To sing and tell the bosun’s truths.

In this sense, Burn one down it was not so far removed from this quintessence in word and spirit A change will come, by Sam Cooke, only with that subtle Jamaican dressing that Harper uses to season much of its production. The yellow, red and green colors adorn the back of the stage and menace those of the flag of this Caribbean music mecca as the third of the night delivery, Yeah workhas already clearly hatched through the territories of reggae.

Out of The will to liveanother one of those old songs that don’t show any wrinkles or crow’s feet reigns supreme at night blues rock eclectic and impure, sometimes more melodic and sometimes almost Hawaiian, but always predatory. Even more so in the case of We need to talk about it, another of the highly dense and ideologically charged arguments in the all-new new LP, a deep missile against the lingering traces of racism and slavery. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, we continue to say that the world has been messed up and with no discernible sign of improvement.

We are left with the solace of music, and invoking the teachings of Perogrullo is now more revolutionary than ever. Harper can’t condense 15 albums into 117 minutes of entertainment, but she can switch between the brand new releases and back catalog with many six-year runs and pedigrees. Also between anger and tenderness, sometimes with a touch of nostalgia.

Ben Harper, in a moment of the concert.Claudia Alvarez

Ben recalled his first visit to Madrid when he was still an 18-year-old Monicaco, and he wanted to visit the workshop of luthier José Ramírez on Concepción Jerónima street, “even if it was just to breathe in the smell of the wood “. That afternoon he dreamed of one day appearing on the stages of Madrid and Barcelona, ​​a claim that bordered on entelechy at the time. The confirmation that he had achieved more than just fulfilling those aspirations led him to the sweetest part of the night, along lonely day (a 1995 original, revived in a disarming rendition of voice and acoustic guitar), all the earlier and more beautiful foreverY diamonds on the insidethe stock that triggered the indicators of Soul and burning to the brink of emotional short circuit.

Ben Harper will never be in bombastic headlines or be the target of wild marketing tactics, but he still has many miles of music and an overwhelming background to make for a night of high suspense and some killer guitar solos. It is the case amen omenobvious – for whoever gives the spotlight to his guitarist Alex Painter – but also the one who squirts How dark is gone, a song that can be very reminiscent of Santana’s codes with its explosion of congas. The kilowatt usage was through the roof at how expensive it is now, but fifty-year-old Harper didn’t feel like saving.

For the encores there were still very fine appetizers left, especially the confessionals and lazybones happy in the sun and the reggae fast from Two hands. It was a nice justification of the emotions that surfaced just the day we saw the videos of Joni Mitchell’s unannounced visit to the Newport Festival. See this old goddess, weak and in a wheelchair, singing The circle game Y Both sides… now Deep voiced and moody at times, it’s perhaps the most shocking thing to happen in all of 2022. And it served to remind us later how important it is that each performance is unique in its imperfection.

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Source elpais.com

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