When I was a fresher at university, Mitch Benn played the union. I don’t remember why I didn’t go. I do remember being woken up by the guys in my halls banging on my door telling me that I’d missed a brilliant evening. The CDs that they bought back from the gig were hilarious – the perfect antidote to looming finals.
So now, on to his gig at The Bloomsbury Theatre. A few hundred people made it through the driving rain on a cold November night – and they were rewarded with the funniest set I’ve seen since… well… since Boffoonery earlier in the week!
The audience were, as Benn put it, a right bunch of weirdoes. A mixture of Radio 4 fans, prog-rockers, students, comedy buffs and – fairly obviously by the way they wooped during the opening bars of every song – some die-hard groupies.
As much as I love The Now Show, it’s obvious that Mitch is much better when freed from the constraints of the 90-second-topical-song format – his long form work is energetic, funny and surprising caustic. That said, he skilfully took audience suggestions and composed a short topical song – Nudey Bear – during the interval.
For me, the highlight of the evening was “IKEA” – hearing a hall full of people sing like demented Vikings while the band turned the volume up to 11 is a memory I’ll treasure forever. You can listen to the track for free at We7.
His current tour runs until the 27th of November – walk, hitch-hike or drive to your nearest venue; Mitch Benn shouldn’t be missed. I know I’m not going to leave it ten years before I next see him.