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Wednesday 2.25

Ben Folds playing with Ben Folds Five - PHOTO BY EMILY SHUR

Ben Folds
Durham Performing Arts Center—Perhaps at some point you've reduced Ben Folds to the solipsistic smart-mouth who led his old Chapel Hill band, Ben Folds Five, through three great records before making three solo albums that have, at best, been entirely mediocre. Thing is, you're mostly right: Way to Normal—Folds' latest monument to the problems of being spoiled, rich and selfish, built of the usual piano pop backed with rock and braided with strings—is a failure of ego, even when brilliantly catchy. Folds remains a wee little city upon a wee little hill, chastising the rich, his richness and basically anything that doesn't go his way. That strategy worked when he was talking about wives and girlfriends with the Five, but he's yet to, like, grow up and mine something deeper than his own misgivings. If you caught the Five's reunion last year and their performance of Folds' most ambitious material to date (Reinhold Messner), you can skip this batch of songs. Miniature Tigers opens at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $30.50.

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