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Last Night: Ben Lee with Kate Voegele at House of Blues

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Ben Lee with Kate Voegele December 5, 2007 House of Blues

Better than: Watching Love Actually for the eighth time in a feeble attempt to get laid.

Ben Lee, Kate Voegele and Cary Brothers jam "all-star style" at Wednesday's show. (Darren Burgfeld)

Video: YouTube vid of a show a few months back.

When I arrived at the House of Blues last night for the show, I was reminded of the movie The Weatherman as I thought, “You know, you really should carry more cash with you.” In a world of debit cards, I always manage to forget about parking. No matter, though, as I popped through the door in perfect time to catch Kate Voegele, who set off this intimate evening with passion. Voegele’s voice draws from the darker corners of bluesy-soul, while intertwining with the strength of limelight modern country artists. She has the stature of a fairy, but roars like a lion on stage.

Cary Brothers stepped to the stage next, flanked by Sam Getz and Jason Kanakis -- two outstanding and very versatile musicians who also backed Voegele. Brothers’ vocals are a twist of Bono and Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol), and have that unique tendency to dance about dynamically. His set went from pensive lullaby to driving anthem, like his Thompson Twins cover, “If You Were Here” (available on his MySpace page).

Australian Ben Lee closed the evening in true form. Lee has Bruce Springsteen mojo wrapped in a Napoleon Dynamite package. We saw the “open-ended rock jam,” the first of six crucial parts of a rock show (you didn’t know we were going to be educated, did you?). We sang along to “Catch My Disease” and took pictures with MAD magazine. Chills ran across our skin as we slow danced on stage and shared moments of awkward sexual ambiguity. We even did call and response about food in New Orleans and Jennifer Aniston’s latest diet (for the record, Lee thinks she looks great). After the token “awkward encore pause,” we got to witness the (insert trumpet fanfare here) ALL-STAR JAM! Voegele, Brothers and the rest of the crew came out for a rousing round of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.” Brilliant!

If you went in as I did, seeing only acoustics and keys on stage and expected a soft, sensitive evening, you got much more than you bargained for at this show. It was a full spectrum of entertainment!

Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: A Carrot Top show in this room would be equally as intoxicating due to the hypnotic lighting and incense, not to mention the always mellow and friendly crew that works there. I heart H.O.B.!

Random Moments: The sense that the room was cool yet there seems to be a need for TV seemed to be a distraction for Brothers.

Oh, By the Way: This tour will stay relatively close this weekend, heading to Austin to The Parish on Sixth St. tonight, and heading north to the Opolis (homebase for Starlight Mints) in Norman, Okla., Friday. It’s a three hour trip either way, so grab some friends.

Artist Suggestion: If you are a fan of Lee, check out Billy Harvey from Austin. -- Darren Burgfeld

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