Today is the day for a reunion with Ben Montague, it has been far too long since I managed to see him, he has been a busy boy though, supporting The Wanted not long ago, writing and recording loads of new material…..I’m so excited for tonight, the date was postponed from the 11th April to today…….I can’t wait!

Let me give you a little background information of my love affair with Ben (Yeah right..lol)! 🙂
I came across Ben a couple of years ago after reading a post from Jamie Hartman of Ben’s Brother (another artist I love love love) had helped to write  the song “Haunted”, so I had a listen and fell in love there and then!
I managed to see a tiny bit of his set at Cornbury Festival, only because I went to get more Pimms and heard his voice on the way there, I realised it was Ben and abandoned the Pimms, best thing I ever did! 😉
I was also lucky enough to be put on the guest list at the Cafe de Paris in August 2010 to see Ben for the first time at a gig  rather then catching the tail end of the Festival performance and I was blown away totally. I remember Ben chatting to the crowd, getting them to join him on Facebook, pointing at me saying: “…she and I are like Facebook husband and wife…”!
Next gig was at the Half Moon in Putney and then the o2 Academy Islington where he let me record a lovely Birthday message for Martina, who has yet to see him live.

Neil, Kathy and I are going tonight; Neil isn’t feeling too great but is determined to come along. We do the usual, park up at Burnt Oak, catch the tube to the Angel, and walk over to the o2! It is upstairs today and the doors are already open, so we can walk straight in. The front of the stage is already taken up, but we manage to find a spot stage left, a few young girls are here, new fans from the Wanted tour no doubt! We get chatting to our fellow frontrowers, Elizabeth who has come from Greenwhich and Nigel and Jayne on my other side. Nigel and Jayne are a couple after my own heart, the children have grown up and they doing as many gigs as they can, especially in smaller venues like the 100 club or Borderline……and they are going to be first time grandparents at the end of the year, just like me! No doubt I will bump into them again somewhere.

Movement on the stage, there are two supports tonight, and the first band is about to arrive on stage, it is Sophie Janes, she is sat at the keyboards and brings another 4 people along, Bass, another keyboard, drums and another female singer. They all seem quite shy and don’t actually say too much. Sophie sings her first song and yes, nice voice, but people who follow me know by now I’m not too keen on female voices. Second song, third song, hmmmm, I’m a little bored now; they all sound the same :-(. Sophie announces a cover song by the Killers, great……ehmmm, which Killer song is that? I can’t actually make it out, and it sounds the same as the previous songs. She did play one song with a little quirky tune, “hand delivered postcard”, yes, that is a nice song, and it was the last one! I was hoping to get the set list, but she picks it up and keeps it…..ok, maybe not!
A few seconds later she comes out from backstage, greet some people and mingles. I’m sorry Sophie, but you are not for me, which of course doesn’t mean that a lot of people wont love you.

There is a quick turnaround on stage, for the second support Kristyna Myles. There are only 2 people on stage, Kristyna and Ben, Ben is playing the acoustic guitar and it looks like Kristyna will be playing Keyboards. She comes on stage, with a big smile on her face and that mixture of shy/cute/confident young girl look, I took to her straight away, she seems so sweet. Well, and when she started singing her first song….wow, what a voice, I do like her! Yes I know, she is female, but what a voice!!! She is confident on stage and explains about her songs, indroduces her debut single “I’m not going back”, she plays the keys or stands up and sings, using the stage to her advantage. She tells us if we sign up to her mailing list we will be given a limited print, even Ben (not Ben as in Montague) joins in the singing at the last song. However there was one very frustrating aspect to her performance, and Kristyna had noticed it too……why are people so rude and disrespectful and chatter loudly all the way through the performance? What’s worse, at some point there was a lot of noise and laughing coming from Sophie Janes’s group, now I would have really thought if anyone understood it was her……..! On the upside, I saw Jonty joining the audience, he had his drumsticks with him and was obviously enjoying Kristyna’s set, as he was drumming away on his legs, I looked back at him and he flashed me a great big smile, hopefully that was recognition rather then politeness….lol!
Kristyna finishes her set, thanked everybody and looked really happy! I manage to get her set list too…..:-)

Well well well, Ben now has techies, he must be moving up in the world, I remember the days when they did it all themselves. Anyway, a couple of guys are busy getting the stage set and the sound checked…..Jonty seems to find it hard to let the technician do it, he keeps popping up on stage, as if making sure it is done right! No, there must be a problem…..come on, sort it, we want Ben on stage!! 🙂
Finally it’s time, Jonty Finn, Holley Gray and Ben Martinez take their place on the stage…..and then it’s Ben, woohooo, still looking as good as ever! He flashes his big smile and says hello to everyone!
They are starting off with a new song “False Horizon” oh yes, I missed you Ben! He has mixed new songs and old favourite, apparently he had a complaint or two when he was just playing the new ones…I’m glad he listened, although we all want new material and a new album as soon as, we do love to sing along the old ones. I always wondered if artist get really bored with singing the same old song, take Gary Lightbody, having to do “chasing cars” every single time………!
Right in front of us is the other Ben (far too many Ben’s tonight), I haven’t had the pleasure to see him before, him and Ben seem to interact with each other a lot, knowing little smiles……Somewhere along the line something came flying of the stage, I didn’t quite see what it was but it must have been something from
Ben Martinez as he seemed to have a few issues with his guitar after that. But they carried on regardless. Ben was talking about loving to play here, feels a bit like we are all in his bedroom…..now, there is a thought…lol!
He gets the names of the girls that supported in a muddle, but finally manages to utter Kristyna, she gets invited onto the stage to sing “Liberty Road” with Ben. I love that song, and Krisyna’s voice compliments Ben’s nicely.
He tells us about the big wardrobe error, wearing a grey shirt, it shows up all the sweaty patches, he will have to go and change his top half way through. When he returns from changing his top, Ben does a little acoustic set, he even asks us what we want to hear, sadly he didn’t do “Weight of Love” for me……but I do love “Rainy day” and “Jennifer” too!
While Ben is doing his acoustic set one of the Techie comes along with a torch, assuming he is looking for the bit that got away earlier…..I point on the floor in front of us as it sounded like it landed there, he can’t see it, I take the torch of him and find it under Elisabeth’s wheelchair, it is Ben’s carpo.
Blimy this is getting confusing with the two Ben’s, I can’t even say Ben M., might have to opt for Ben Mo. & Ben Ma……lol!
Jonty, Holley and Ben Ma. come back onto the stage to finish the set with “Together” and the very last song is “Sweet Amelia”, I think the sound got turned up, it isn’t sounding as good as usual, but for me Ben Mo. can do no wrong….hehehehhe.
At the very end T-shirts and CD’s and the new EP out on the 8th July get plugged…..Ben Mo. also promises to be out to meet us all once he cooled down a little. Time to get the set lists, I manage to get Ben Ma.’s, and out of the corner of my eye I can see a Techie taking Ben’s set list away…???….. I see him tearing of the bottom bit and then putting it back on the floor……hahahaha, I know why: before the gig he scribbled on the bottom, CD’s T-shirts and G…. s.., well it’s for me to know and for you wonder what was actually written on there!!!

We don’t have to wait long for band to appear, Ben Mo. stays by the merchandise table to sign and talk ……I do want a t-shirt, but I have to get it another time! I get the CD and have it signed, as all of mine are. at last my turn to speak to Ben, he looks up, a big smile,it is so lovely that he recognises me, he comes round the table and gives me a hug, quick chat, photo’s taken, CD signed, photo with Kathy and it’s time to let someone else have a go!
As I said to Ben, I’m feeling sad and happy at the same time, reason: I lost Ben but gained Ben Montague…..he has evolved so much, taken big steps on the carrier ladder, which is brilliant, and I’m happy for him, even if I will find it hard sharing him with thousands of other fans! I promise I will be on that frontrow as often as I can!
Just as we walking out we see Jonty, yes a hello, a hug and photos…..awwww, sorry Holley and Ben Ma. for not chatting, but we had to go and get that train,  it was a school night after all….:-)!

Thank you for a great evening, sorely enjoyed it! x

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About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

One response »

  1. Martina says:

    Yes I still have to see Ben mo life …. One day I will….. Good night then … !

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