Reviews \

‘Falling’ Back in Love with Ben Kweller

BROOKLYN: Texas-bred troubadour opens touching time capsule, playing debut album start to finish.

The air was thick, and patrons were drenched in perspiration, but Ben Kweller barely broke a sweat as he barreled straight through his debut album, Sha Sha, on the first night of a three-night stand at Southpaw that will see the mop-topped songwriter perform each of his three albums in their entirety. Following a raucous and riotously funny opening performance from rapper-cum-country crooner Tim Fite, audience members were provided with commemorative Sha Sha lyric songbooks upon their entry to the overheated bar. The booklets, however, better served as fans since the die-hard crowd needed no help in harmonizing with Kweller.

Donning the nostalgic outfit from the album’s cover — Eskimo headgear, original long sleeved t-shirt, red toothbrush, and all — Kweller, a.k.a BK Baby, offered bemusing back-stories from his Jäger-and-paper-bag-colored Texas childhood (“Wasted and Ready”), while also expressing deep fondness for his longtime love, wife Lizzy. Kweller’s Behind the Music-like set felt so much like a fortunate and familiar affair even as he eased into the warm and twangy “Family Tree,” hearts skipped a beat around stage left where Kweller’s baby boy, Dorian, appeared fixated on his Daddy’s comforting croons from the safety of his mother’s arms. Emotional and ever endearing, Kweller took his time shuffling through Sha Sha, hoping to “make it last as long as possible” as fans wailed along to “Walk On Me” and experienced a funny false start to live rarity, “Harriet’s Got a Song.” Everyone there would agree it was a night so sweet, you couldn’t even try to “make it up.”

We asked: In the song “Wasted and Ready,” Kweller asserts, “Sex reminds her of eating spaghetti.” What food does sex remind you of?