Review: Brendan Benson ‘Concert Los Angeles’

bill bodkin looks at a mind-opening concert…

Plot: A high-def live-footage film shot by Myke Adams in December of 2010. The band joining Brendan Benson on stage features Ken Stringfellow, Jon Auer of The Posies / Big Star as well as drummer Brad Pemberton of Ryan Adams’ Cardinals.

Concert films are a curious beast.

They can be iconic pieces of rock ‘n’ roll cinema like Woodstock: The Movie or U2: Rattle & Hum — films containing legendary celluloid images that have been emblazoned on our pop culture subconscious. These film are what every concert film should strive to be.

Then there are your run-of-the-mill concert DVD’s that basically document a band’s most recent tour. You can pick these up at your local big box store, usually around Christmastime. They’re usually completely disposable, no different from a band’s prior releases and really offer the viewer absolutely nothing.

Brendan Benson’s Concert Los Angeles doesn’t fit into either category. It’s a very straightforward documentation of Benson in concert and honestly, after viewing the entire film, some narrative would’ve been good. Benson seems like an engaging musician and getting some words, insight and history about him would’ve made this DVD that much better. Yet, this isn’t some sort of generic money-making disc; it’s a wonderful, eye-opening look at a supremely underrated performer.

For those who merely know Benson as one of the vocal masterminds of the rock ‘n’ roll supergroup, The Raconteurs, Concert Los Angeles, helps you delve further into the artist’s vast catalog of song. It helps you discover his vocal brilliance, his uncanny ability to write hook-laden tunes that have a dynamic duality of soulful, introspective and intelligent lyrics and pure rock ‘n’ roll energy.

This is a DVD that really opened this reviewer’s eyes to the brilliance of Brendan Benson’s solo work. Having seen him absolutely slay it live with The Raconteurs, I’ve always been curious to see how Double B would be in concert fronting his own band, with his own songs. And the result was rock ‘n’ roll magic. Benson is a performer who makes a timeless rock ‘n’ roll sound — he would’ve been a golden god in the 70s, but we’re lucky to have him current and relevant in our era. So if you’ve ever been curious about Brendan Benson or are in search of some brilliant new tunes, this DVD is definitely a must-buy.

You can purchase Concert Los Angeles for a mere $2 at Benson’s Readymade Films website, by clicking here.

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites