Ben Ottewell

Live Review & Photos: Ben Ottewell and Buddy at House of Blues San Diego, May 30, 2014

Ben Ottewell
Photos by Sylvia Borgo

Ben Ottewell kicked off his tour in San Diego on May 30 to promote his second solo album, Rattlebag.

Ottewell, lead singer of British band Gomez, showcased songs from his new album, but also played several favorites from his first solo effort, Shapes and Shadows. Ottewell kicked off his set with the first song off Rattlebag, and then introduced a new song, the deep and bluesy “Patience and Rosaries.” Ottewell then switched to an acoustic guitar to play “Starlings,” which really allowed his raspy-yet-gentle voice to shine. He also played two Gomez songs, “Hamoa Beach,” off of 2006’s How We Operate, and “Free to Run,” from Gomez’s Mercury Prize-winning debut, Bring It On.

One of the highlights of the evening was “Blackbird,” which Ottewell introduced by saying, “The next one is a quiet one.” His friend and opening act Buddy joined him one stage for “Stone,” of the last songs of the night. Ottewell played two songs for his encore, “Red Dress,” and “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle.

During the show, Ottewell noticed the quaintness of the House of Blues Delta Room, full of cushy sofas, plush rugs, and kitschy art by saying, “This is the kind of show I like to go to. Sit on your ass and listen to some music.”

Buddy is a man and a band. Hailing from Los Angeles, Buddy’s voice and overall sound is quiet different than Ottewell’s — and that isn’t a bad thing at all. Buddy’s voice is less coarse, and his music is less bluesy. This was perfect for a chill Friday night in the cozy Delta Room.

Touring to support his new album Last Call For the Quiet Life, Buddy set the mood early with his steady and consistent rhythm and instrumentation. All of this really pulls you in as an audience member; there was no texting, no phone videos recorded, no one talking loudly at the bar. Buddy’s music was almost hypnotic.

Buddy had a wonderful stage presence: very easy-going and happy to take the stage to showcase his songs. At one point, he joked with the crowd, “How many lead singers does it take to change a light-bulb? One, he just holds it while the world revolves around him.” Excellent.

For an interview with Buddy, go here.

Photos: Ben Ottewell at House of Blues

Photos: Buddy at House of Blues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.