Ben Folds

Ben Folds’ comedic approach to songwriting may have won him the adoration of college fans, but his most formidable skill is a Midas touch with people and musical subgenres that—until he has his way with them—are considered way uncool. Six years ago, Folds leant his skills to William Shatner’s Has Been, a record that far exceeded (admittedly low) expectations. Last year, Folds released University A’Cappella!, where college a cappella groups perform renditions his songs. Tonight, he’ll be giving his back catalog the full symphonic treatment, aided by SSO and guest conductor Robert Bernhardt. The sweeping arrangements should complement his big, bold songs quite nicely. And if adding tuxedoed violinists to, say, “Not the Same” doesn’t sound hip, Folds has never claimed to be hip. He’s made a career of poking fun at pop culture, pop music, and his own popularity. And in flaunting his special brand of uncool, he’s become more popular than ever. SARA BRICKNER

Tue., Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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