By Hephzibah Dutt
Been Broken is a man and a guitar …and a slightly recalcitrant amp. The amp acts up just as the performance begins and Been Broken, who prefers to go by his stage name, takes the opportunity to start with a joke: “Hi, I’m Been Broken and…I need to fix something,” he says as he gets things settled. He doesn’t say much for the rest of the fifty minute set of about ten numbers…but he doesn’t need to.
Been Broken’s music combines the bluesy, poetic melancholy of John Mellencamp with the powerful vocal intensity that is reminiscent of classic rock; musical influences include Johnny Cash, the Pixies, Hank William’s Sr. and Jimi Hendrix. Been Broken’s ten-song repertoire is stylistically varied— a good blend of ballads and more rocking numbers—all of which are set to fantastic instrumentation on the acoustic guitar.
While the audience isn’t given a program, Been Broken announces titles to his songs from the stage; so listen out for Paralyzed which truly demonstrates the vocal range and power of this singer-song writer. “I don’t tell stories, I make observations” he says of the free-style prose that makes up his lyrics. “I’m more like an art student sitting on the sidewalk, painting people who walk by.”