This Little Underground: Benjamin Booker at the Social

 

This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. Read the latest column here.

click to enlarge Benjamin Booker at the Social (photo by James Dechert)
Benjamin Booker at the Social (photo by James Dechert)

Benjamin Booker at the Social (photo by James Dechert)

What a difference some real exposure makes. In case you don’t recall, I raved about Benjamin Booker back in March when he played Will’s opening for Two Cow Garage before me and about a dozen others. Since then, the Tampa son has been on a Kansas twister that’s entailed the release of one of this year’s best albums, high-profile festivals, late-night talk shows and tour time with Jack White. Now, the young pistol returns at the top of the marquee to a very respectable turnout (Oct. 29, The Social). Sometimes it takes years for an act I talk up to prove me right on any significant level. But this is one meteor that I’m especially glad to see rip right out the gate.

click to enlarge Benjamin Booker at the Social (photo by James Dechert)
Benjamin Booker at the Social (photo by James Dechert)

Benjamin Booker at the Social (photo by James Dechert)

At the March show, Booker played as a two-piece with former Sh-Booms drummer Max Norton. This time, sporting a Woolly Bushmen shirt, he came as a bigger-sounding trio. But the thing that still makes this the real shit is Booker himself. As a soul-blues-punk triple threat, he’s unquestionably, immediately thrilling. But, at once purist and current, he’s also much deeper than his punk peers. For one, his legit singing patina doesn’t sound like all the bratty kid brothers running around the scene. No, his music – wild and true – is more than just cheap kicks. It can party up, but it can also cut to the bone. In a set that generally ranged from blues-punk electricity to raw soul bleeding, he even showed some folk roots complete with fiddle and mandolin. But more than anything, Benjamin Booker is the raw, undiluted essence of rock & roll.

click to enlarge Benjamin Booker cohort Max Norton at the Social (photo by James Dechert)
Benjamin Booker cohort Max Norton at the Social (photo by James Dechert)

Benjamin Booker cohort Max Norton at the Social (photo by James Dechert)

Read more This Little Underground:

click to enlarge North Avenue Studios’ big developments
North Avenue Studios’ big developments

North Avenue Studios’ big developments

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)

Email Bao: [email protected]

 

 

 

About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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