Nerd-rock heartthrob Ben Folds will bring his current solo
campus tour through Ann Arbor this weekend thanks to an alliance of
committed student groups. Spearheaded by UAC’s recently
reinvigorated Big Ticket Productions, the concert will not only
mark the reopening of the renovated 4,000-seat Hill Auditorium for
student-oriented rock shows, but hopefully also a revival of
national touring acts being lured back to town.

Best known for his commercial breakthrough with his eponymously
named trio, Ben Folds Five, singer-songwriter Folds has maintained
a consistently devout, if somewhat less visible following since the
band’s break-up in 2000. Folds’s appeal largely comes
from his distinct range of pop craftsmanship, easily fluctuating
between wry Randy Newman-esque character studies, delicate melodic
heartbreak and smart-assed blasts of quirky rock. Doubtlessly, fans
can expect Saturday’s show to include a mix of Five-era
faves, his solo album Rockin’ The Suburbs, recently released
twin EPs Speed Graphic and Sunny 16 and his yet-untitled next solo
album due sometime this year.

Big Ticket Production’s student-run executive board has
plenty of reason to celebrate nearly selling out Hill for
Folds’s performance. Students may be unaware, BTP member and
LSA senior Melanie Kalisz points out, but most major universities
fund specific student committees to bring music and comedy acts to
its campuses. “It’s been really difficult task for us
because here we have nothing,” Kalisz added, “We have
to hook up and collaborate with Hillel and these other groups and
piece it together.”

BTP hopes to, over time, consolidate these efforts at Michigan.
“I think this will give us some real credibility,” said
LSA junior Chuoh Ngeh about the success of the Folds concert and
BTP’s work with last fall’s Comedy Central “No
Class” tour.

“We’ve proven we can pull it off,” said
Ngeh.

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