Gig Reviews

Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball – Whelans – Live Review

Live Review: Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball – Whelans – 27th March 2023
by Matt Rutherford

25 years ago, Gomez released Bring it On, an album that pipped The Verve, Pulp and Massive Attack to the ‘Mercury’ Music prize, and subsequent expectations were high.  Seven albums later, and while Gomez are on some kind of extended hiatus, Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball are on a short tour with support from Buddysounds.

Whelans on a Monday night is going to attract true fans, and whilst the venue wasn’t sold out, an appreciative crowd showed up to see the duo.  The warm-up set from Buddy was a fun busk, finishing with a fully unplugged tune from the middle of the dancefloor.

Ben and Ian took us through a fun set, featuring some deeper cuts from the discography, but delivering crowd pleasers as well.  Opening with Revolutionary Kind from Liquid Skin and closing with How We Operate from the 2006 album of the same name we got stuff from across the years, including some new tunes that are being written with Buddy.

There were a number of covers, including a pleasing Northern Sky by Nick Drake, and an intense ‘Them Bones’ by Alice in Chains.  Later we had a fun Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung.   We also got cake and a chorus of Happy Birthday for Soundman Dave, as well as cheers for another Dave who popped out of the crowd to restring Ottewells guitar!

The full Whelans singalong action was reserved for the material from the first album, with 78 Stone Wobble, Get Myself Arrested and a rabble-rousing Whippin’ Piccadilly as the encore to send us back into the Dublin night with an earworm.

Categories: Gig Reviews, Gigs, Header, Music

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