Posted by: Cory | March 4, 2009

Review: Ben Kweller with th Watson Twins @ Headliners – 3/3

Hometown girls The Watson Twins came back to Louisville in support of Ben Kweller at Headliners.  For a Tuesday night, the place was absolutely packed and much of the crowd seemed equally as interested in the Watson Twins which was fantastic to see.  Despite a little static buzz coming out of the speakers for a song or two, the girls played a very fun set, including an amazing and heartfelt cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

By the time Ben hit the stage, any sense of personal space on the floor was gone, filled with girls everywhere hanging onto each of Ben’s words and singing along.  Ben recently released Changing Horses, and his 19-song set nearly covered the entire album, playing 8 songs from it, yet managing to cover multiple songs from each of his albums (5 from his self-titled album, 3 from Sha Sha, and 3 from On My Way).  Perhaps the biggest surprise with the new album is just how twangy/country the album comes off.  Ben has been known to reinvent his sound, and his brand of rock ‘n roll never been too far off of country, but the new album goes straight to the core of country music, having a very old-country music feel, incorporating a slide guitar, steel guitar, and an authentic twang and the crowd loved it.  Similar to Brett Dennen’s performance the night before, Ben edited his lyrics to make them relevant to the Louisville crowd, and in “Things I Like to Do” to sing “I like walking into headliners strumming this guitar” and the crowd went nuts.  For “On my way”, the band left Ben to perform solo only to be backed up by the rest of the crowd in a singalong.  Unfortunately, a few too many fans near the stage didn’t quite know the words so during the song Ben corrected them, and later in the song preemptively explained that the lyric is “speaker” as in a person rather than “speakers” as in sound equipment.  For “Thirteen”, Ben stayed solo on stage, moving over to his piano and pulling out his harmonica and played the beautifully innocent song that took the crowd back to their younger days before bringing out the band bringing the crowd back to their rock roots with the equally uplifting “Living Life”.  For Hurtin’ You, the crowd got a flashback to the Watson Twins’ Jenny Lewis days with them singing backup to Ben and having a great time on stage.

In the end, despite the show being significantly more country than I anticipated, it was a lot of fun and they all displayed a mastery of their instruments that only playing bluegrass really lets you exhibit, and it was a beautiful thing to see.  Perhaps the star of the night for me personally was the gent sitting at the slide guitar looking like he’s fresh from Nashville and just shredding the thing.  Although this is Ben’s first legit performance in Louisville (aside from an ear X-tacy in-store a few years ago), if you get another chance to catch him, it’s well worth the show.


Ben Kweller setlist

  1. Walk on Me ***
  2. Run **
  3. Family Tree ***
  4. Things I Like to Do *
  5. Wantin’ Her Again *
  6. Old Hat *
  7. Gypsy Rose *
  8. On My Way ****
  9. Thirteen **
  10. Living Life ****
  11. Homeward Bound *
  12. Sawdust Man *
  13. Hurtin’ You (with The Watson Twins) *
  14. Lizzy ***
  15. The Rules ****
  16. Sundress **
  17. Falling ***
  18. Encore

  19. Fight (music video) *
  20. Penny on the Train Track **

* Changing Horses
** Ben Kweller (Self-Titled)
*** Sha Sha
**** On My Way


Watson Twins

Ben Kweller



  1. Yeah, awesome show. I love the Watson Twins – they were adorable at earx-tacy.

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