Seldom has an American college-radio outfit been revered so highly by UK audiences, but Ben Folds Five can lay claim to being one of them. Formed nearly twenty years ago, the trio of Folds, Sledge and Jessee weren't just another nerdy student-band, chiming out run-of-the-mill humdrum that could have been created by anyone with a pulse. Nope, Ben and friends threw every genre into their arrangements, bar the kitchen sink. In fact, had they added the sink, they may have raised the bar even higher.
Musically they contain a little bit of Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, XTC, Semisonic and jazz, lots of it. Boogie-woogie, smooth and progressive chords all help to elevate Folds' descriptive lyrics to another level. Check out their debut album, "Ben Folds Five". The rather unadventurous title belies its contents - whilst there are no guitars to really speak of (it's pianos, bass and drums, folks), the first six songs are the equal of anything produced by those aforementioned comparisons, especially the single "Where's Summer B?" and the amusing "Julianne".
But it was album two that propelled them into the UK spotlight. "Brick", "Kate", "Battle of Who Could Care Less" are monsters without being overblown stadium-rockers. "Song for the Dumped" - the title rang bells with just about every learned 'uni' student, back in the late '90s. After one more official album, the less-endearing 1999 set "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner", Folds folded the Five and formulated a solo career, which itself created three Top 75 albums. The good news is: a fourth Ben Folds Five album is mooted for August....and that's not all....
2012 will see the original trio reunite for a swathe of autumn shows, starting with Bristol on 23rd November, followed by Nottingham, Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and finally Brixton on 4th December. We will have tickets (from £27.50) on sale from 10am Friday 4th May (pushed back from 27th April). They will sell out pretty quickly.