Ben Folds

8 p.m. Monday, September 28. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard.

Having flirted with the mainstream several times during his musical career, pianosmith Ben Folds now seems comfortable just being himself — whether that means releasing a series of mail order-only demo EPs (as he did in 2003 and 2004), creating a fake version of his new album and leaking it himself (as he did in 2008) or recruiting more than a dozen collegiate a cappella groups to cover his own songs (as he did earlier this year). And while his current take on the music business might be a bit left of center, his live performance hasn't slowed an inch: Folds' plenty-capable backing band is able to back him on any chestnut he feels like pulling out, ranging from early Ben Folds Five B-sides to cuts off the fake version of Way to Normal. But the real treat is Ben himself: No one tells stories and improvises clever songs better than he does.