“This is fucking awesome!” exclaimed Brendan Benson somewhere around the midway point of his set in the crammed Electric Circus on Saturday night. This was the last night of his European tour and, as he explained, sometimes the last show can be a difficult one: you’re tired and your mind is already thinking about the flight home and the chance to see your family for the first time in weeks. There was no evidence of end-of-tour fatigue here, though, as Brendan and his band were on fine form before a boisterous Edinburgh crowd.
The Michigan native is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Jack White in The Raconteurs, and the two Raconteurs songs played on the night – Hands and set closer Steady, As She Goes – were arguably the most eagerly received, however there is much more to Brendan Benson than The Raconteurs and this was a set packed with punchy rock songs.
Songs like Good To Me, What Kind of World, Cold Hands (Warm Heart) and What I’m Looking For kept the audience captive and encouraged regular chants of “there’s only one Brendan Benson!”, which seemed to humour the front man, while a solo acoustic trio in the encore showcased his softer side.
Everything about Brendan Benson is infectious: his voice, his lyrical style, his appearance and his enthusiasm, and it made for an extremely enjoyable night. Electric Circus was an excellent wee venue too. Although it was packed it never felt like a crush, the bar set-up was top-notch and there was never a lengthy wait for a drink. All in all a fine night in Edinburgh.