Brendan Benson at The Wedgewood Rooms

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With an opening salvo of a brand new number, the upbeat Light of Day, heading straight into the perky pop of Good To Me from 2002’s Lapalco, Benson, leading a four-piece band, starts like a man with a mission.

From there we get a welcome surprise rendition of Hands by his band with ex-White Stripes man Jack White, the Raconteurs.

But there’s a rather subdued Monday night crowd, which Benson compares to the notoriously quiet ones in Japan.

With a set that cherry picks from his five solo albums of fearsomely catchy tunes, Benson shouldn’t be able to fail, but he appears to be struggling with the lack of crowd feedback.

There are fluffed lyrics and false starts aplenty, including to 2003 nearly-hit Metarie, which would normally come across as under-rehearsed, but somehow the Michigan-native manages to make sloppily endearing. Being more polished would almost be wrong.

And songs from new album What Kind of World slot in perfectly alongside the more familiar material.

By the end of the all-too-short hour-long set the band are on fire and even the audience seems to have woken up.

CHRIS BROOM