Abandpositively bristling with a newfoundjoie devivre
MUSIC EELS ACADEMY, GLASGOW HHHHH
LIFE has been spectacularly unkind to Eels core member Mark ‘E’ Everett, with the pain of unexpected deaths in the family (his father and mother, his sister’s suicide, his cousin’s death on one of the 9/11 planes) fuelling his already depressive nature. This has made for some sparse and unhappy music over the years, but this year’s latest album, Tomorrow Morning – part of a triptych released since mid-2009 – contains some of the most upbeat and optimistic music of his career.
This newfound joie de vivre has translated itself into his current live set, and at the Academy in Glasgow there was even a cheeky visual joke to get us all in the right frame of mind. From a distance, it was hard to tell what Everett was wearing. It was either a white boiler suit or a crumpled shirt and trousers, but anyway – that wasn’t what caught the attention. Instead it was the mountainous dark beard, the black sunglasses and the navy bandana wrapped around his head. Amusingly, each of the four members of his sharply suited band were also wearing beards, shades and headgear of some sort – a bit of conceptual styling that must have taken some forethought, given the length of some of the facial hair on display.
Everett seemed to be having great fun. “The band are all wearing tartan ties for you,” he said at one point. “I’m sorry I couldn’t find a tartan bandana.”
The gig was a bit of a marathon, clocking in at 27 songs if you count all three of the encores. Among the set were Eels classics Souljacker Part 1 and Mr E’s Beautiful Blues, although their breakthrough days of the mid-90s were completely ignored in favour of newer material. From last year’s Hombre Lobo came Prizefighter and Fresh Blood, while Tomorrow Morning’s Spectacular Girl, That’s Not Her Way and I Like the Way This is Going sparkled with a certain kind of contented romance, while Looking Up is a slice of joyous gospel funk. Covers of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City and George Gershwin’s Summertime were also crammed in, played with pace, energy and almost manic good-time feeling. DAVID POLLOCK