Aband­pos­i­tively bristling with a new­found­joie devivre

The Scotsman - - Reviews -

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

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