Once a nervous live performer, this Detroit solo artist has finally found the confidence that his beautiful, touching and rousing work deserves.
It's been a rocky ride for Benson on his way to becoming the foremost practitioner of power pop, that unfashionable genre where rock sensibilities propel easy, accessible tunes. The Beatles and The Beach Boys were past masters, while in Benson's music you'll hear anything from ELO through The Cars to Squeeze.
Having suffered major-label neglect and legal wrangles for much of his career, the 34-year-old has made it to his third album. He's been backed by Jack White, and the two have recorded a set of duets for release next year. This tour, though, was about the songs from his own triumphant new album, The Alternative to Love.
As recently as earlier this year, nerves led to fluffed intros and forgotten lines at his UK dates, but this time the boyish front- man was in total command. As trim and long-limbed as Beck Hansen, Benson was less LA showman and more laid-back Louisiana, where he spent many of his formative years. His drawl betrayed his southern roots and gave his lyrics a deceptively languid quality. With the perky tunes, this masked the dark …