A man and his piano make beautiful music

Ben Folds

Duncan Sheik

Crystal Ballroom

1332 W. Burnside



8 p.m.


All ages


This blast from the past is no one-hit-wonder. You may remember Ben Folds Five from your high school days. They had a huge hit with the weepy song “Brick,” about a man whose girlfriend has an abortion. That song is one of the most depressing in the history of modern music. (“Brick” would probably be a good choice for a pro-life campaign.) Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view), Folds dissolved the band and now tours with only his trusty baby grand piano at his side.

Folds and his piano have been together for years making music that occasionally makes it to the radio, and sometimes even the mighty radio-star-killing MTV. The 30-something singer is still as adorable as ever; his boyish looks paired with a growing bald spot are nothing short of endearing as he jumps around a living room like a little kid in the only music video for his first solo release, Rockin’ The Suburbs. Folds is sensitive, but he still knows how to have a good time. Expect his part of the show to be lively for the most part, but including enough slow, gloomy songs to satisfy your craving for variety.

Folds’ new album, Ben Folds Live, came out on Oct. 8. It includes 17 tracks of the pianist’s melodic comment of life. Expect a cheesy Christmas album Dec. 1.

Duncan Sheik is a bit like Folds in that he made some darn good sad songs before bands started being classified with the super cheesy genre name “emo.” One may hear the term and be more reminded of the furry teddy bears from Star Wars (actually called Ewoks) than an emotional musical style played by the likes of Dashboard Confessional.

His most well-known song to date is “Barely Breathing,” a hit from around the time Folds was getting radio play with his band. The most melancholy of melancholy songs are those on Sheik’s self-titled debut album, like “Little Hands,” a song of desperation and unrequited love.

Sheik’s new album, Daylight, is in stores now. Less quiet and depressing, it is a solid departure from his former style. Full of guitars and slightly more uplifting music, Daylight puts Sheik back into the pop category. It’s not quite as bubbly as Britney Spears, but it is a heck of a lot closer to Spears than to his past work. You may want that, but you may be disappointed in the lack of I-just-got-dumped-and-I-need-something-to-go-with-this-pint-of-Ben-&-Jerry’s-ice-cream music.

If nothing else, you need to see this show to be reminded there are types of music besides bad teen pop, mediocre heavy metal and booty rap. Folds will take you there, and Sheik will keep you going.