Listeners to Radio 4 might know Mitch Benn as the guy who used to do the topical music spot on The Now Show on Friday nights. If you don’t know The Now Show it’s a satirical comedy show looking at the week’s politics in much the same way as Have I Got News For You, except that it isn’t a quiz, and it has songs and sketches… so nothing like it really. 😐
You might also remember Mitch for his song I’m Proud of the BBC from about ten years ago.
Being a fan of both Mitch and the BBC I started a Facebook page to try to get this song to the Christmas number one slot some years ago.
These days The Now Show has a different line up with other songsters who, in my opinion, are not nearly as good. Mitch is now doing the circuit starting at the Edinburgh Festival each year and taking his show on the road through the months that follow. He might also have been doing that back in The Now Show days but I really wasn’t paying attention at the time what with being busy listening to The Archers, More or Less and Woman’s Hour.
We went to see his show a few years ago and had a great time. This time, however, he was even better, to the point that I’m moved to write about him. 🙂 The show, Ten Songs To Save The World is a mix of songs threaded together with chat and banter that stitches it to the next song with all the usual features of a stand-up comedy show. Can you have banter in a one man show? I suppose you can’t but, actually, there is one bit where he has a conversation with himself so I suppose you can.
It’s all rather good, is very funny and I’d like to recommend my many readers and followers to get tickets for his remaining dates. The tour continues until March with new dates being added all the time.
So what can you expect? Well more than ten songs actually. The first thing he tells you is that the Edinburgh show was just an hour but the tour is two 40-minute halves with an interval. So he’s added a few songs from his back considerable catalogue that fit with the general theme of the world is going to hell in a handbasket and what can we do about it? – Err hand cart?
But, despite the end of the world theme, this is not a show full of gloom. There are songs here with hope such as The Weird Will Save The World and If Dogs Ruled The World, because apparently, we’d all get lots of exercise if they did. They all had us laughing out loud. 🙂
The whole show is, quite impressively performed on a single guitar along with what looks like a phone and an array of pedals used to control the occasional backing track or, in quite a few places, he uses a loop recorder which, while they are no longer new technology, seeing someone use one live just never gets old. 🙂
At the end of the show I availed myself of one of his memory sticks on a key ring which included all the music from the show along with some previous shows, three of his novels and some of his writings from the New European. Yeah, I know, who knew he did all that as well?
Therefore, my conclusion is, if you discover the remaining dates of his tour pass close to your location, or you fancy a longer drive and a night in a B&B, then get out there and get tickets. It’s well worth it.
Check out his website here: http://www.mitchbenn.com/gigs/
And here’s another song from the show: