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Ben Watt played two nights at Joe’s Pub w/ Bernard Butler (pics, setlist & video from night 1)

photos and videos by Greg Cristman

Ben Watt

His new album, Hendra (Unmade Road/Caroline), is a midlife reckoning. Mr. Watt released a solo album as a songwriter, North Marine Drive, in 1983 before concentrating on Everything but the Girl. Three decades later, “Hendra” is its follow-up. The new album revisits the sound of the debut, which was steeped in the moody jazz-folk hybrids of John Martyn and Tim Buckley. The songs are built around delicate guitar syncopations and hints of Celtic modes and bossa nova, with Mr. Watt lingering over the melodies in his tender, reedy croon.

Mr. Watt was already brooding in the 1980s, as he showed when he sang two songs from “North Marine Drive.” But his newer songs are less wrapped up in romance, more aware of limitations and sorrows. “Hendra” arrives alongside a book about his parents, “Romany and Tom: A Memoir.” The songs on “Hendra” mourn the deaths of family members and ponder aging and disillusionment while seeking ways to cling to hope. – [The New York Times]

Though he’s played NYC many times as half of Everything But the Girl and as a DJ, Ben Watt made his solo debut on Wednesday (6/11), his first of two consecutive nights at Joe’s Pub supporting Hendra, his first solo album in 30 years. (These were makeup shows from April when visa issues delayed his arrival.) He was joined for the shows by onetime Suede guitarist Bernard Butler who colored in Watt’s outlines with delicate leads. Though Hendra deals with some heavy themes, Watt has a good sense of humor which lightened the mod. In addition to new songs, he played a few from his 1983 album, North Marine Drive and encored with EBTG’s “25 December.”

More pictures, the setlist and videos from the show, below…


Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

Ben Watt

North Marine Drive

Some Things Don’t Matter

The Gun

Nathaniel

The Heart Is A Mirror

SETLIST: Ben Watt @ Joe’s Pub 6/11/2014
Hendra
Forget
Young Man’s Game
Brick & Wood
North Marine Drive
Some Things Don’t Matter
The Gun
Nathaniel
Matthew
The Road
The Levels
Golden Ratio
The Heart Is A Mirror

Encore:
Spring
25 December

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