Concert Review: Ben Ottewell and Buddy at the House of Blues Delta Room in San Diego, CA. – May 30, 2014

Photos and review by Garcia Borgo Photography

Ben Ottewell, lead singer of British band Gomez, kicked off his tour in San Diego on May 30th to promote his second solo album, Rattlebag. He showcased songs of of his new album, but also played several favorites from his first solo effort, Shapes and Shadows. He even treated the crowd to a Gomez song. He kicked off his set with the title track off of his new album Rattlebag. The album is currently only available at his live shows. Alternatively, fans had a chance to purchase the album through an Indiegogo campaign launched in the Fall of 2013. Ben noticed the quaintness of the House of Blues Delta Room, full of cushy sofas, plush rugs, and kitschy art covering the wallpapered walls of the small room by saying, “This is the kind of show I like to go to. Sit on your ass and listen to some music.” He introduced a new song, one with a deep bluesy sound, “Patience and Rosaries,” by saying “Just gonna let you guys enjoy this for a minute.”

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He switched over to an acoustic guitar to play “Starlings.” This proved to be a wise choice as the acoustic guitar really allows his raspy yet gentle voice to shine. Half way through the song his band members left the stage to let him showcase his musicianship and vocal ability. Ottewell played 2 Gomez songs, “Hamoa Beach,” off of 2006’s How We Operate and “Free to Run” off of Gomez’ debut album Bring It On, which won the British equivalent of a Grammy, the Mercury Prize, in 1998 for Best Album. One of the highlights of the evening was the sweet song “Blackbird,” which Ottewell introduced by saying, “The next one is a quiet one.” His friend and opening act Buddy joined him one stage for one of the last songs of the night, “Stone.” Ottewell came back to stage for two encore songs, “Red Dress,” and ” Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle.

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. His voice is more sweet, less coarse. His music is more atmospheric and mellow, less bluesy. This was perfect for a chill Friday night in the cozy Delta Room. He sets the mood with his steady and consistent rhythm and instrumentation and he doesn’t throw in any sudden sonic surprises. All of this really pulls you in as an audience member – there was no texting, no photos being snapped, no one talking loudly in the bar – his music was almost hypnotic, you didn’t want to miss one note, one single lyric. You can check out his latest album “Last Call For the QuietLife” on iTunes and his own website iamyourbuddy.com.

Buddy had a wonderful stage presence, very easy-going, and happy to take the stage to showcase his songs. 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.

Buddy’s set list

  • Color Patterns
  • Weak Currents
  • Anchor
  • Boxing elbows
  • if we Lived here
  • Say a lot
  • Westgate

Garcia Borgo Photography

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