Ben Westbeech showcased his debut album Welcome To The Best Years Of Your Life at Soho’s Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club – and I managed to blag an invite…
Following a bit of the sort of blagging I haven’t tried for years (Hi. Can I come to your gig? Who am I? No one really..) I managed to get my name on the list of the album showcase for the launch of Ben Westbeech‘s debut Welcome To The Best Years Of Your Life at the iconic Ronnie Scotts. Am I glad that I did? You f***ing bet I am (and thank you again Emily).
Having seen Ben play at Lovebox back in the summer of last year I had an idea that his live show would be pretty good. But since then his act has tightened up several notches and his show was absolutely awesome (the drummer in particular was genius). The set consisted of most of the album, and if it was anything to go by (I haven’t had a chance to properly listen to the copy of Welcome.. that I got after the show yet), it promises to be one of the best albums of the year. Worldwide Winners #1 here we come!
As far as I could tell (there was free red wine!), the set list was as follows:
- Nothing Else (2nd single as showcased on Brownswood Bubblers)
- Pusherman (21st Century update on the Curtis Mayfield track – not a cover though)
- Taken Away From (with an amazing drum & bass outro, and a nice little nod to Oasis’ Wonderwall in the verse)
- Gotta Keep On (co-written with DJ Clipz – whose MySpace page seems to be down at the mo)
- Get Silly (although Ben introduced it as Rolling Round – has a nice sample from Ray Barretto’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise)
- Don’t Know Why (great accoustic number – doesn’t seem to be on the LP)
- So Good Today (absolute fu**ing roadblock!)
- Stop What You’re Doing (Ben didn’t anounce what this tune was, so I hope my memory serves me right!)
- Dance With Me (really ought to be a single – it does make you want to get and give it some)
- Get Closer (never have you heard a drum & bass tune sound so good live!)
Anyway, this just confirmed my feeling that 2007 really ought to be the year of Ben Westbeech. If anything his live stuff is even better than the recorded versions, and the guy is just pure niceness in the flesh (said hello to me after the show, rather than trying to get a restraining order). If you have any sense you’ll buy the album as soon as it comes out, and get your tickets for what promises to be an amazing gig at the Jazz Cafe before it sells out.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the music that was playing whilst we were waiting for Ben to start was the new Brownswood Bubblers compilation – as Gilles said when introducing Ben, he was pretty proud of it: I’m not suprised, it sounded bloody excellent.
Anyway, before the album comes out why not get your hands on the limited edition release of the single Hang Around (also available on iTunes)? Have a look at the video
for Hang Around of the performance at Ronnie’s below whilst you think about it (or read my full review of Welcome To The Best Days Of Your Life over at MOG)… Oh, and did I mention that Sanjay from Eastenders was in the audience (at one point having an conversation with Ben’s girlfriend’s Dad – talk about random!), as was British soul singer Nate James (sporting an awesome afro). Who’d have thought that Sanjay has such good taste?!