Ben Harper & Relentless 7

Date: 21 March 2009
Category: MUSIC, NEW
Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Those who know me know that B-Harps is one of my all-time favorite artists. I’ve seen him a bunch of times, including one show at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland where I sat front row (center) and had Ben singing to ME for 2 hours (thanks Scott).

So, I’m watching the SXSW footage from the Bat Bar on Directv’s 101…and I’m kinda disappointed. The lack of a 300 lb bass wielding Juan Nelson is fucking with me, bigtime.

Has Ben jumped the proverbial shark?

I wanna punch myself in the face for saying it, but I think maybe he has.

His last few albums have been really lacking. The last decent album he put out was 2003′s Diamonds on the Inside, and that was just okay.

Ben really hasn’t put out anything mind blowing since 1999′s Burn to Shine. Two Hands of a Prayer, The Woman In You, these songs are epic…especially live. Since then, Ben’s song writing has been really flat and I think he is settling for songs because Ben Harper wrote them and not because they are pushing the boundaries that define Ben Harper.

It’s funny because before this show, Matt Pinfield and some chick who thinks she knows music were talking about why Ben is so great, and they were saying it’s because he does push the boundaries and exposes himself to new musical genres, enabling him to be new every time he comes around. Well, fuck that. That is the biggest load of bullshit I have ever heard. That’s right Matt Pinfield, I’m calling you out, you corporate whore. You’re always kissing ass. Guess what, if Ben puts out a shitty record, someone has to stand up and say it.

BEN. What the fuck are you doing man? You’re living in a mold that you keep applying PAM to. You’re never going to climb out with such a thick coating of that slippery shit. You need to take out your swiss army knife and claw your way out of that fucker.

Your melodies are all starting to sound so…Ben Harper-ish.

Yeah, this show with the Relentless 7 is relentlessly bad.

Damn it.

All that said, I can’t wait for the album!

13 responses to Ben Harper & Relentless 7

  • Hammer says:

    Wake the fuck up…that is what rock & roll sounds like, man! Ben Harper & Relentless7 are poised to single handedly revive a stale rock scene & take over the world while their at it.

  • DrRJE says:

    Kings of Leon are in a much better position to “revive” rock n roll…

  • barnes says:

    Hey man,

    I gotta say as someone who was at a couple of their shows during sxsw I gotta say you are way off. I’m actually the opposite, I have never been a huge Ben Harper until I saw this new band and sound. NOBODY in rock today does or can do what these do, especially live, think Zeppelin type domination…
    Don’t get me wrong, I love KOL too and I think they are very relevant to the rock revival, but talent wise, the R7 group is on another planet.

  • DrRJE says:

    “NOBODY in rock today does or can do what these do, especially live”

    I plan on being at the Fillmore show on May 27, so, I’ll report back after that.

    Nobody though?

    How many BHIC shows have you seen? I need more than 2 hands to count the number of Harper shows I’ve been to, and I can assure you, BHIC shows back in the late 90′s and early 00′s were an EXPERIENCE. An ebb and flow of emotion working its way through an audience that was completely silent and focused.

    Things have changed…and I highly doubt that R7 will ever be able to re-create the feeling those audiences had during and after the show.

    BUT, I’m not one to jump ship after 1 performance…so, I’ll give em another shot or two.

    It IS Ben Harper.

  • B says:

    I’m a Rock Radio DJ and I can tell you that this is way different than anything Ben Harper has done with the Innocent Criminals.
    THIS is Rock. The stuff he was doing before leaned too much in the “AC” realm so Rock radio wouldn’t touch it. Don’t get me wrong it was good, but not hard enough to be seriously considered for airplay on rock radio. Relentless 7 should finally get him the respect he deserves in the rock community. I think this album will be huge based on what I’ve heard. Also search You Tube for some great concert footage of this band. Favorite song so far is “Keep it Together”

  • B says:

    PS. I’m going to feature “Shimmer and Shine” on my show this afternoon as part of a new music feature I do. I’ll let ya know how it goes over. peace

  • Meg Joy says:

    I have no idea waht you guys are talking about, Ben Harper is my all time favorite singer walking the earth. His new Cd with the Relentless7 is amazing, yeah its a bit different, but his music is growing and this cd is just what I needed to begin my summer. And of course Mr.Harpers music has a certain “Ben Harper” tone to it, thats why I like it, you know it’s him singing. All his songs off the album are great, Keep it together, Shimmer and Sine, Number with No Name are currently my favorite. No I have never seen one of his shows, it would be a dream come true but I like in CT and he never makes it down this way (if he only knew he would be loved down here) anyways, amazing CD, buy it, and support him, he’s one a kind, and a true talent~

    pce&lve meg.

  • EZ says:

    I think Ben and R7s new album is fucking SICK! its cool that harper picked up right where he left off with the Both Sides of the Gun rock album…..

    I get so tired of the soft, adult contemporary, mega acoustic falsetto BH.
    I really dig on the Raw, Grunge, Rock sound that Jason Mazerski has got R7 in.

    I can also see what u mean about Ben’s more recent albums sounding alot alike, almost inforcing that Ben Harper-ish lyricism….which stinks,

    But I have genuinely loved and enjoyed most everything he has put out since “burn to shine”…….
    especially bits of lifeline, diamonds, and the LIVE FROM MARS CD’s ROCK!!!!

    Younger than Today is a song I dont like too much

    See you Saturday in Chicago Ben n R7!!!

  • JJsostail says:

    This new stuff is great! I love the old stuff still but this will open up new eyes (ears) to Ben. Any fan of Ben has to realize that anything that gets new people into him is only a positive (unless it drives up ticket prices – ha).

  • sir nose says:

    drrje said:
    “Those who know me know that B-Harps is one of my all-time favorite artists.”

    Ok. Lets look at this statement. I think this is all we need to know about drrje. His heart is clearly more of the Jack Johnson variety. This Relentless7 kicks the shit out of pretty much all his other material with the exception of tracks like Ground On Down and Faded. I like the other material but this is a career-defining album for him. I think he and Robert Randolph should do a tour together.

  • I Was There says:

    I was there, front and center for this SXSW show at the Bat Bar…

    It was amazing!! Nuff said

    whoever wrote this article needs to pull his/her head out of the bong and listen.

  • DrRJE says:

    Being there is totally different. Everything seems better in the moment.

    The Ben Harper show at San Jose State in Fall 1999 was the epitome of what Harper shows are supposed to be like. I was there…front and center…and I recorded it…and I have listened to it hundreds of times…and trust me, the Bat Bar show isn’t even in the same league.

    Bring back Juan!

  • Collin Elias says:

    I agree with the writer, the stuff put out by R7 is nothing new and seems unlike BH who made creative/genius like songs. In no way does it compare to his earlier stuff with BHIC. I am unclear what he is trying to do (from his recent BHIC albums and R7) but it too me it does not have the feel and passion that his earlier stuff had. I hoping for the day another album like those he put out in the earlier years.