Brendan Benson plays Auditorium Theatre. - Oh My Rockness

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Brendan Benson plays Auditorium Theatre.

August 25, 2005
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Brendan Benson opens for his Detroit friends and neighbors, The White Stripes, this week at the Auditorium Theater (that illustrious venue that has showcased such legendary indie acts like Miss Saigon, Les Mis, and Phantom). Though this massive venue is meant for the massive popularity of The White Stripes, Benson's power chords and powerful pipes should have now problem filling the space. We've always been able to take or leave Jack and Meg (and there's really no need to write about what they "sound" like anymore), but Benson's hooks continue to reel me in, going on 10 years strong.

Brendan Benson is power pop and power pop is Brendan Benson. And he is simply one of the most talented songwriters in the is-he-or-isn't-he-indie world. Very similar in style to his pal Jason Faulkner (Jellyfish), Benson writes concise yet complex songs with unbelievably catchy hooks and an undeniably strong sense of melody.

His writing seems equal parts art and science. You know the songs are going to have a verse/chorus/verse thing and clock in under four minutes, but his flair in executing this formula is what separates him from modern rock radio (those bands are apparently still the "new alternative."). BensonÕs songs on the surface sound like fun, happy, bouncy tales that could be the soundtrack to any summer. But the lyrics are often dark (drug abuse, kidnapping) and depressing (heartbreak.)

I can't count the number of times his first album, One Mississippi, played on my stereo. Released almost 10 years ago, it still finds its way onto my iPod on a monthly basis. His follow-up on Startime, Lapalco, dishes out hand-clap choruses better than any pop album in recent years. And his latest album, Alternative to Love, has more hits than there are bad metaphors in music reviews. I like this guy. A lot.

Brendan Benson plays with The White Stripes at the Auditorium Theatre, Wednesday, August 31st.

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