Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Some gigs

We saw the Wailers again at the UEA, sometime in March, between the ice ages.  Mr & Mrs Green were seeing them for the first time whilst my closer family had seen them before a year ago.  In short it was a very good show but when you see a band twice in a year it'll never be as good the second time.  Plus Family man wasn't playing...  Never mind, we all enjoyed ourselves as they rolled out the classics and our legs ached at the end.

Mid June the Princess and I joined Mr Green and Mr Red in a car to Norwich to see another iconic artist, Public Image Limited fronted by the one and only John Lydon.  It was hard to believe that none of us had ever seen Mr Rotten play before, in any of his incarnations, it barely seemed possible.  I have the Pistols in my collection but nothing by PiL so only really knew a handful of songs but this didn't matter at all, I loved it!  The band is tight and the guitarist "Lou" is fucking ace, then there's John who has a presence and draws the eye.  Seeing him live you appreciate what a fucking good voice he has too.  Highlights are the inevitable ones; "Love Song", "Public Image", "Rise" and the final tune, his personal and relevant reworking of the Leftfield collaboration "Open up".  Class!

Then last week Mr Green kindly took the wheel again and drove the princess, my daughter and myself down to London to see my/our? favourite band in the world.  The middle of a heatwave, England are still in the World cup and the roads seemed quiet...  Until we hit the concrete and everything snarled up.  London, how the fuck do people live here?  Why do so many people drive Range Rovers?  Why does anyone need a 6.3 litre car?  Why does everyone jump the lights, we catch them up at the next set anyway?  You meet beggars at the lights too and see piles of homelessness along the paths, then blink and the surrounds are opulent.  Don't get me started...  The traffic is bad, the sat nav literally leads us into a dead end, I'm starting to get nervous because I don't want to miss a single second of this one

Our destination was the Brixton academy and Mr Green had us positioned fairly close and dead centre with ten minutes to spare.  Just enough time to take in what a great venue the academy is, it's been a few years since I've been here.  These minutes drag, I keep checking my watch...  Lights dim, the Rocky theme starts up...  Then Eels casually stroll onto the stage and I'm all fan, I love this band and I don't care who knows it!

This is the fifth time I've seen the Eels and every single time they have been absolutely first class.  They couldn't possibly hits those heights again could they?  The answer is an emphatic FUCK YES!!!  The gig started slowly with a song I actually didn't recognise, picked up with a cover of "Raspberry Beret" then just got better and better and better and...  We literally danced all night.  There were only a handful of new songs sprinkled into a set that kept hitting us with classic after classic including at least half a dozen favourites that I'd never seen Eels play live before.  It was a fantastic set for a long time fan and equally good for my daughter seeing them play for the first time.

How do they do it?  How are they so consistently good at what they do?  Well tour is completely different to the last one, they must look at the previous set list then rip it up and pick a new one fresh.  With the exception of one song; "My Beloved Monster" is played every time but is completely reinvented.  It's not just the set list, the whole vibe shifts too.  I've seen them play R&B style with a horn section, a five piece rock band (twice) dressed in track suits followed on the next tour by them all suited and booted playing what can only be described as a soft rock orchestra (which is my banner picture at the top of the page).  This time they were four piece, casually dressed in jeans and jackets and played a bit of everything.  This band, these musicians are masters, they can do anything and between the songs the chat is damn funny too.

Sometimes you listen to a musician and it seems the songs have been written for you, this is obviously the case with Eels and me.  I get emotional about this band because they are so good, they should be better known but then again I'd rather see them in Brixton or the RAH than in some soulless arena.

Anyway the gig...  Highlights for me were the tunes I'd never heard live before;  "Daisies of the Galaxy", "Magic world", "Climbing up to the moon" and especially "PS You rock my world" - 'a careful man tries to dodge the bullets while a happy man takes a walk...'  Classics included a demonic "Flyswatter", a haunting "Novocaine for the soul"and a thrashed "I Like Birds".  They played for nearly two hours and I could have happily danced along for two more.  Four years slipped by between Eels tours, I hope they don't make me wait four more for the next.

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