Ben Kessler, Religion and Rocketry Light Up Tin Angel

While everyone else in the world was with T. Swift on Friday night at the Linc, I had the pleasure to experience B. Kess. Now, that’s not his real name but it has a bang to it. Nicknames aside, Ben Kessler has definitely been touched by an angel. The concert took place at the Tin Angel right off 2nd and Market Streets. 

Here’s a little confession: for a moment I had a flashback to my high school days and watching reruns of Saved by the Bell when I noticed that most of his audience were his friends from high school but anyway, it was a great performance.


As anyone knows, it’s important to have a great opener to a concert. So, who better to start Ben’s concert than Religion and Rocketry. Their chemistry on stage was familiar, then after the first song they explained that they were siblings. That’s about as familiar as it gets. You could hear the Folk influence in their harmonies and tones. “A Moment in Time”  was my personal favorite song that they performed. Just the way the words and melody flowed together was like magic; it just clicked and it’s pretty catchy. Religion and Rocketry definitely set the stage for Ben.

Now, the Tin Angel has very dim lighting but when Ben Kessler and his band stepped on stage, the only lighting that mattered was the stage lighting. With Ross Bellenoit on guitar and Sonja Bontrager on keyboard, this show was everything you needed on a Friday night.


Here’s what made Ben show unexpected: he played two sets with the band with solo set in between. Not saying that it can’t be done, but for some artists, it is a difficult transition, but of course, Ben did like a pro.

Ben has a style all on his own. It’s a mixture of John Mayer, Frank Sinatra, and a little Adam Levine on the side. Every song has its own persona that leaves the audience applauding for more. He performed a majority of his well-known songs with a couple new ones in the line-up.

Best song of the night, “Blue Eyes,” which is one of his latest songs. It was soulful and sweet. As for Not-So-Favorite song of the night was, “Hallelujah”, and that simply because I’m not really a fan of covers but what made it ear-worthy was that Ben made it his own.

Ben Kessler is one of the wonders of the world that is worth discovering. His music is transcendent and original, which is becoming a rare art form in today’s music. For more information on Ben Kessler, upcoming shows, and his latest music, check out his website here.

Photography by David Chaney

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