Road Trip to a Rare Performance

It was uncommon for the Dutch artist Benny Sings to perform in the U.S., and the fact that it was my first concert made it all the more special.


Emily Janosko

Benny Sings, an artist from Amsterdam, performed a concert in New York City last month.

Emily Janosko, Staff Writer

In November, I came home on a Wednesday to my brother awaiting my arrival. Although he usually gives a groan as a greeting, this time he proposed a way to not only cure his boredom but also to see one of our favorite artists in concert.

We were first introduced to Benny Sings last year when he collaborated with Mac DeMarco on the single “Rolled Up.” We then dove into his album City Pop, and fell in love with his tunes of melancholy.

Additionally, we persistently played all of our favorite songs of his over bluetooth speakers whenever we had down time at our house. Even though we probably drove my mom crazy, our Christmas of 2020 was filled with the sound of Benny Sings, rather than classic Christmas carols. 

However, the chances of us ever seeing Benny Sings live were slim to none. Benny Sings originates from Amsterdam, and his visits to the United States are rare. Besides, we were in the midst of a pandemic. 

Fortunately, Benny Sings decided to release his album Music in April of 2020, and as the pandemic slowed down, he released tour dates in the United States. My brother planned a trip for us to miss two days of the week to go to New York City to finally see Benny Sings live. 

After much anticipation, we set off for a six hour drive on December 7th. The venue was Le Poisson Rouge, which is a small basement in Soho. Once we equipped ourselves with coffee and sustained our hunger with everything bagels, we produced our vaccination cards and eagerly awaited the performance. 

Benny’s opener was Silas Short, a young R&B singer from Chicago. We had never heard of him before, but he had a beautiful voice and amazing guitar skills. Our favorite part of his performance, however, was when Short called his best friend “Uncle Bogus.” 

Although we had originally thought the venue was small, by the time Benny rolled up on stage, both of us were squeezed against a pole due to the mass of people. It was also very apparent that I, at the ripe age of seventeen, was the youngest to attend the concert. 

Finally, after so much anticipation, Benny Sings strode across the stage and took his place by the microphone. From the first note, the show radiated energy. I was pleasantly surprised because Benny is in his mid-forties, and I wasn’t expecting such a youthful performance.

We were fortunate enough to get a surprise saxophone solo by Cautious Clay during the song “Run Right Back.” Additionally, many of the songs included an insane trumpet performance. I have no idea who he was, but Benny’s trumpet player made the show for me. 

Both my brother and I agreed that Benny’s performance of Drake’s “Passionfruit” was the best part of the show. Originally, it’s a pretty slow song, but he bumped up the tempo and added some extra energy and bass. I cannot express how much better Benny’s version is compared to Drake’s. 

For my first concert, I have absolutely no complaints. Although the show was packed, experiencing Benny Sings live was something that I will always cherish. I feel very fortunate to have received this opportunity, and I cannot thank my brother enough for bringing me along with him.