Gig preview: Benjamin Booker at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker

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From just starting out writing a couple songs to share with his friends, to performing on the Letterman show and releasing a debut album, Benjamin Booker is now set to do his first extensive headline tour of the UK.

Benjamin Booker is a 25-year-old who grew up in Tampa Bay, but is currently based in New Orleans.

Recently he has been garnering attention with his throwback to rock ’n’ roll, blues, and a hint of gospel, citing influences ranging from Blind Willie Johnson, T. Rex, and The Gun Club to hardcore bands like This Bike is a Pipe Bomb and Minor Threat .

Signed in a car park, Booker had previously not played a single gig before talking to record label about being signed.

“It got to the point where I was talking to labels, and I was lying about playing shows. So I just had to play a show, because I was talking to labels and it was looking like I was going to be playing music but I’d never done it before.”

A bold move which obviously paid off well, as an executive from ATO Records personally flew out to one of his gigs, where, after seeing him perform, decided that he was good enough to sign.

Even though he had to make himself get up and start playing live, there was a reason why he never used to be into the whole art of live performance.

Booker was really into the local punk scene when he was younger but a combination of other foci and being too shy kept him from the stage. To him “it’s not normal to get up on stage and perform – it’s weird”.

With tracks written mostly as entertainment for him and his friends, it was never something that was supposed to be released to a record label and sold for all of us to hear. In fact if it was a complete success for the masses that would be a bad thing according to Booker.

“What would be bad, is if everybody liked your stuff. That’s when it’s bad. If you’re in a band and your music is universally loved, it’s usually not very good stuff,” he says. “I never think about the audience ever. You should write what you like and if people like it they like it, and if they don’t then they can listen to something else”.

Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut album is out now. He plays at Brudenell Social Club, Queens Road, Leeds on Wednesday September 10, doors 8pm, tickets £10. http://www.brudenellsocialclub.co.uk/whats-on/benjamin-bo/

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