There are a few things music fans can rely on consistently: a Rolling Stones tour until 2020, a new MP3 downloading program to whet their illegal music palette, the local Best Buy being out of popular discs during a sale and Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock's apparent fear of death. With last week's release of "Good News For People Who Love Bad News," rumors swirled (among people who hadn't downloaded the album) that the Washington musician might have lightened up.
It was audience participation night Tuesday in the Wharton Center's Great Hall. When piano rocker Ben Folds nodded, the crowd responded. When he needed voices to fill the chorus, they sang. When he paused to take a sip of water or empty his pockets (which held a wallet, papers and a cucumber), they called out requests. He responded to shouts for classics, such as "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" and "Eddie Walker." He knocked out a romantic rendition of George Michael's "Careless Whisper" when asked for it.
It just didn't seem right. Traveling among college campuses, planning to play gymnasiums with raised basketball hoops, the stage at the acoustically astounding Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday night simply wasn't what Ben Folds was expecting. "There must be some mistake," Folds told The State News during a phone interview.
Nestled between stations in Oxnard-Ventura, Calif., and Boise, Idaho sits Lansing, the 120th-largest radio market in the United States, where familiarity rules the airwaves. If local stations are playing it, local listeners can already sing it. "The Lansing market is not cutting-edge," said Dave Johnson, market manager of Rubber City Radio Group in Lansing.