The upper room of Mammal Gallery exudes a comfortable intimacy, a feeling matched in Wednesday night’s performances by Ben Price and Peter Webb. Both performed solo before an entranced audience. As we sat on the floor, the silence between chords was punctuated by the erratic cracking of beers and a few errant whispers; the result being remarkably similar to a living room session.
Price opened the night seated on the floor and scratching notes onto a pad. Without introduction he broke into a mix of instrumental and vocal tracks that combined the avant-garde with the traditional. His detailed songwriting was not necessarily neat, but it was lush and each word was spoken with a playful reverence indicative of the care taken in his songwriting. As the engineer and wizard behind Studilaroche, Price has achieved a wealth of musical experience and has expounded on it while working with bands such as Hello Ocho and Cult of Riggonia. His studio experience and his penchant for the experimental came through both his concern for the sound and his ability to dance around both time signature and key.
All photos by Samantha Meacham. Click to enlarge.
The lack of breakdown and setup between sets created a casual level of continuity between each performance which helped introduce Webb’s more straight-ahead interpretation of guitar folk. Though he occasionally broke into a jazzy swing, he mostly stuck to folk of a continental heritage and reinforced my opinion that he is one of Atlanta’s more engaging singer-songwriters currently performing. Though his style carries more Appalachian roots than either Sufjan Stevens or Alexi Murdoch, Webb shares the same gravity in his songs, as well as a similar vulnerability, which is evident in both his songs and his stage banter.
For Price, live performances occur about once in a blue moon, so if you missed his set, chances are you might have to wait awhile before it happens again. Webb performs more regularly and released his solo debut in 2015, which you can get here.