Live Review: Benjamin Booker with Sick Sad World at The Crocodile 8/6/15

Live Reviews
Geran Landen
all photos by Andy Bokanev

A year after his debut album release, it is no doubt that Benjamin Booker is a rockstar. He's played the festival main stages, toured across the country, and even guitar dueled with Jack White. It's deserved notoriety for a man who makes such a unique blend of punk, rock, blues and folk. And even when he isn't tossing guitars into the crowd, or shredding with Jack White, his live show holds the raucous energy that only the best of punk shows have. So it was fitting that Benjamin Booker played at The Crocodile last Thursday, a venue known for its history of housing classic rock stars. Openers Sick Sad World set the tone with a lively set before Benjamin Booker tore the house down in the best way possible. Sick Sad World is the brainchild of Seattle's (by way of Olympia) Jake Jones, who has since evolved his project into a four-piece. The group, who also make films and music theatre production under the name Marvelous Good Fortune, brought the fun thoughtful punk-pop of their debut LP, Fear and Lies, to the Crocodile on Thursday night. The band kept the mood light and fun, captivating the audience with tracks like the doo-woopy ballad "Orange Lazarus" and the beach ready "Skateboarding Girl". As Jake Jones shared random tidbits from his life, asked the crowd questions and even shared his personal inspirational jingle during a tech problem, he won the crowd over completely. The bands live show extended the charm of their music to even greater heights, and the hard workers of Sick Sad World are quickly becoming a must know Seattle act.

While Benjamin Booker's last time in Seattle can be debated as success or failure (a soldout show but banned from the Tractor Tavern), it certainly seemed to be memorable for everyone involved except the man himself. He admitted as much on stage last Thursday at The Crocodile, and his declaration was met with applause and laughter. It seemed that regardless of if fans had enjoyed the drunken riot that was his last show, they were certainly more than happy to forgive him. And that was before he left The Crocodile in flames that were hotter then the inside of a concert venue in July.

Benjamin Booker played through virtually all of his known material, whipping the crowd into mosh pits with his frantic guitar playing before bringing them down with folk stylings that highlighted his unique grainy voice, which seemed to hold extra soul in the live setting. Benjamin Booker makes music that is just as reminiscent of classic Rock n Roll as it is with Folk and Blues. This was an especially present idea in the live setting; whether it was through the Hendrix like distortion that he often utilized, the folk backings created by a mandolin and violin or a cover of Nina Simones arrangement of "Little Girl Blue." As he neared the end of his set, Benjamin Booker let the harsh feedback of his guitar ring out while he and his band left the stage. The crowd begged for more, staying in place far after the house lights had already turned on, but the ugly noise would serve as the only encore. It was chaotic and unpractical, but fitting for a musical act who refuses to fit a mold. And encore or not, the energy and quality of the preceding set had been more then enough to leave the Seattle crowd satisfied.

Related News & Reviews

Live Reviews

Live Review: Of Monsters and Men with Pure Bathing Culture at Marymoor Park 8/9/15

Of Monsters and Men are no longer the undiscovered artists who charmed audiences across the web back in 2010 with their intimate, stripped back living room performance, recorded by KEXP, of “Little Talks”. Since signing to a major label subsidiary, Republic Records, for their debut album in 2011, t…

Read More
Local Music Live Reviews

Live at Pizza Fest 2015, Day 3: Nobunny, Wimps, White Mystery, SSDD, and more

"We're gonna play 'til they kick us out." Nobunny spoke to the crowd at El Corazon Saturday night, clad in a bunny mask and black briefs with a white poof tail. "Nevermind, they already locked the doors. None of us are getting out alive. This is it. Welcome to Hell, this goes on for your life." If …

Read More