Live At Derby Guildhall

Mitch Benn & The Distractions

Date: 13/10/05   —   £10.00   —   Music

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I know of Mitch Benn from his musical interludes on Radio 4’s topical satire show ‘The Now Show’. He also had his own show on Radio 4 which I think was called Crimes Against Music, incidently the title of his latest album released earlier this week. I had not seen Mitch Benn in the flesh before and therefore did not know him to be a fine figure of a man 6’3″ odd, built like a brick shit house and with hair down well over his shoulders. (Not that I’m biased to such a genre of figure you understand). As if the sight of such a handsome fellow wasn’t enough he was flanked by a bass player wearing a purple velveteen one piece, stockings and boots and who has wild curly dark blonde/ginger hair. That’s rather conducive to liking what is to come!

The fist half of the gig was good, and actually the couple of ‘technical hitches’ leant a rather nice informal air to the proceedings. The venue is not large and therefore something to bring people together in a matey way works well. Benn’s gift is that his musical ear coupled with a satirical tongue lends to a form of musical cutting-satirical impressionism that no-one else is really doing. There will be inevitable comparisons with Bill Bailey, particularly because of the physical appearance but Benn is different to Bailey although both certainly use their love and ability in music to good effect. You could take the lyrics of the songs Mitch Benn sings and they would quite often be funny alone. Likewise you could take the music and style of a song and it would be a very authentic parody of the specific musical styles the band is looking to create.

The second half was slicker and more powerful and in my opinion funnier, although perhaps not hindered by the bottle of Newcy Brown I’d had in the bar in the interval. The band’s ‘Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now’ is a musical version of observational comedy at its best. Click the link and watch the video. Benn’s Eminen rap to Shakespear’s MacBeth is also highly amusing.

All in all Mitch benn and the Distractions are well worth seeing, affable, funny, clever and original you don’t generally get much of that for a tenner.