I’ve worked with Ben Elder for a long time, as both a Crooked Coast bandmate and designing the band’s apparel line. One great thing about him is that he keeps an open mind and is down to try just about any crazy idea, to varying results. Many years ago he asked me to play a Sunday afternoon residency with him. We had no set list, had never played together, didn’t know each other very well—and he wanted to start that week. He convinced me that none of that mattered, and the rest is history.
Ben takes a sort of unorthodox approach to most things and his Thursday night residency at The Quarterdeck in Falmouth is no exception. Owner Bobby Jarvis asked him to come and provide acoustic entertainment from 8 to 11 PM weekly, giving him free rein as to exactly what it would be. Ben started inviting other performers to join him either playing together, doing separate sets, or both.
“Bobby’s cool,” Ben said. “He’s been in tons of bands, so he gets it. It’s just more exciting bringing in other people. And nothing catastrophic has happened.”
Singer-songwriters, electronic acts and even stand-up comedians have been featured in the eclectic series. “Doing the stand-up night was a little bit nerve-wracking but it worked,” Ben said. “It could have been bad, though.”
“Curating might be a generous term for what I do,” Ben explained. “I just call people I know personally. It’s entertaining for me, too. I pull in stuff that I would want to see.”
So far, this season he has been joined by his trio performing as Ben Elder and The Statesmen, playing “lo fi indie versions of classic rock songs,” and DJ MIXTAPE, who does “cool UK-focused post punk and new wave,” as well as various friends popping in to play a song or two.
On December 5 at the Quarterdeck, The Brothers Rye will be the featured act. The “outlaw jug band” is a local favorite that has played the series a few times before.
Also making a return appearance will be acoustic pop duo The Combs Brothers on December 19.
Something a little wilder will be going down on December 12, when Ben brings in rap/metal band Gemello. “These guys are buddies of mine and I’ve seen them live a few times,” Ben said. “It’s a wicked fun show.” The band is composed of a DJ and twin brothers, one specializing in rapid-fire rap and the other a death metal howl. The two seemingly disparate styles actually mesh really well over big, ominous hip-hop beats, and their energy is through the roof.
“I’ll be doing the dinner set that night upstairs,” Ben said. “Then they are performing downstairs after. That night there will be a $10 cover charge to see them. They are raising money to shoot a music video with Evil Rob, a photographer/videographer who is pretty well-known in the heavy metal world.”
Ben plans on running the series through the winter and spring. He said he would like to do another night of stand-up comedy and maybe bring in a country act from Boston. He’s always willing to take a chance on something different. Stop by the Quarterdeck on a Thursday night to find out what.