Artist Profile: Benjamin Booker

benjamin bookerWanting to focus the entirety of my Jack White show review on, you guessed it, Jack White, I decided to forgo even mentioning opener Benjamin Booker.  This dude is straight legit.  I’m not really going to give much of an in depth profile here, as all my insight would be straight plagiarism from other people’s articles.  But I would like to give you a little insight into an artist that could be poised to break out (if you don’t already consider opening for Jack White “breaking out”).

I can tell you Benjamin Booker is from New Orleans, a pedigree which often bodes well for artists.  I can also tell you he tours with only a bassist and a drummer, although I’m assuming his upcoming debut LP will feature a few more bells and whistles.  I don’t know the names of his band members (and I looked), but his drummer was phenomenal; the opposite of a lazy drummer.  Booker’s bassist was…a bass player.

Booker actually seemed a little bit nervous opening for White, which was apparent when he looked in awe at the Fox Theatre and said something to the effect of, “man, I’m used to playing tiny clubs.”  The music itself is more self-assured, a kind of combination of classic blues riffage with a lot of punk thrown into the mix.  A fun sound all around.  More than anything, Booker’s music reminds me of early Kings of Leon, his uneven vocals pleasantly reminiscent of pre-rehab Caleb Followill.  Some might say Booker and his band’s sound could use some polishing, but I always thought that was the beauty of the Kings on their early work.

If there are two things that are going to separate Booker from the pack, I think it will be his unique vocals and his adept fusion of genres.  Maybe more than that though, he had a very real magnetism to him.  It is impossible to open for Jack White and get everybody to give a shit, but as my buddy pointed out near the end of Booker’s set, even though everyone was sitting, everyone was also paying close attention and nodding their heads with the music.

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