Ben Folds returns to town

For the first time in a dozen years, college circuit rock star Ben Folds is coming to Charlottesville. His first and only appearance until tomorrow's free show at UVA was April 13, 1995. Then, still on his way to stardom, the North Carolina-based Ben Folds Five opened for Shannon Worrell at the Jefferson Theater.

Besides surprising Worrell's crowd of sophisticates with his amazing blend of fuzzed-out guitar, hand-slamming piano work, and cynical word-play, the 1995 show was notable for something else. It was there that, from the front row, local photographer/ filmmaker Alexandria Searls shoots a picture (seen above) that winds up being the only band shot in the BFF's first CD.

Folds, now a solo artist, headlines tomorrow's UVA "Springfest," a free gig held at Nameless Field and featuring an up-and-comer on the Israeli-born country music scene. He is Eef Barzelay, and although born in Tel Aviv, he's the product of American parents. Better yet, Barzelay (seen here at right) scored a film that just won a big award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

The film, Rocket Science, a coming-of-age story about a stuttering debater, recently won the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Award for Dramatic Directing. The film, from Jeffery Blitz, who also directed the Academy-award nominated documentary Spellbound, gets its theatrical debut August 10 when it's released by Picture House/HBO.

Barzelay takes the stage around 3:45pm, and Ben Folds plays around 5. Nameless Field is located behind Memorial Gym, next to the Snyder tennis courts. The bummer about tomorrow's concert? That a UVA ID is required to attend.

Saturday morning update: A commenter (below) says you don't have to have an ID to catch the music, just the free food. If so, that's great news for music fans!



That is not entirely true. A UVA ID is required if you want the free food but it is not required for the concert.

It is also not true that "His first and only appearance until tomorrow's free show at UVA was April 13, 1995." Before that, Ben Folds appeared in Charlottesville with the Ben Folds Five at the Prism in a memorable concert attended by a sparse crowd of discerning enthusiasts. Local "revisionists" have tried to muddy the waters quite a bit, but other artists who made their Charlottesville debuts at the Prism since 1990 (unknown, I'm sure, to the Hook), include Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Solas, Chris Thile, Corey Harris, Pierre Bensusan, Paddy Keenan, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Cephas & Wiggins, the John Jorgenson Quintet, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, Kate Campbell, Slaid Cleaves, Sally Barris, Claire Lynch, Old Crow Medicine Show, James Keelaghan and many others the Hook has probably never heard of but who are nonetheless significant in their respective fields.

You guys should just stick to what you know - local gossip and real estate, and leave the music to those more qualified.