Ben Kweller Plays Rice, Monday


Surprised I hadn’t heard more about this, actually, but yep, gentle-voiced, kinda odd-looking, pop-gone-country troubadour Ben Kweller will be playing Rice University this coming Monday, March 16th, as part of my alma mater’s “Willy Week” festivities. They’re playing, along with expat H-town funk band Achachay!, at the campus’s Main Quad, which is that big flat area surrounded by buildings with a small-ish statue in the middle, and the show’s set to go from 5-8PM.

Now, is this thing open to all? I honestly have no freakin’ clue, so take that as a bit of a warning — you may be required to show a Rice ID or something to get in. Might be free to the public, as well as the students, and it might not; none of the news bits I’ve been able to dig up say one way or the other.

By the way, while I’m not a huge fan of Kweller (I like “I’m On My Way” okay, though; it’s oddly sweet), I must confess to being jealous they didn’t have stuff like this when I was a student — the only time we got non-Rice/-Houston bands was the KTRU Outdoor Show, which tended to get less “big name” bands (although they were/are awesome, by and large — NoMeansNo, woo!), or occasional full-on concerts I could rarely afford at the Rice Stadium (got to see Pink Floyd for free, but I had to wear a goofy shirt & direct very stoned people to their seats for an hour beforehand). For the most part, we were left with the locals for parties & whatnot.

Not that I minded seeing Houston luminaries like Sprawl, 30footFALL, Venus in Furs, The Suspects, or Ezra Charles on a semi-regular basis, obviously, but still… I remember waiting in line for a college party that Horton Heat was supposed to be playing, only to find out (as we got to the door, naturally) that they’d had to cancel, and that pretty much summed up the live-music experience when I was at Rice — if there were bands playing, odds were you knew/went to school with somebody in the band, and if you wanted to get beyond that, you had to leave campus. (Heck, come to think of it, I don’t even remember “Willy Week” being an established/named thing back then — stuff just got scheduled for the week before Beer-Bike because everybody knew the alumni would be around…)

Anyway, moral of the story is: relatively big-name music being played at Rice, pretty much specifically for Rice students, is good. Big thumbs-up to the Rice organizers.


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