By Desh Kapur, Rock At Night Manchester
Venue: The Albert Hall, Manchester
The brilliant Albert Hall in Manchester was tonight’s venue of choice for the brilliantly dark, swampy, Indie that is EELS.
Strolling on stage to the theme from Rocky, resplendent in a Stetson, dark shades and rocking double denim (no easy feat in its self) was the enigmatic Mark Oliver Everett better known as E, the mainstay of the band over the last 20 years, in fact he is Eels in my mind.
Eels’ back catalogue is a huge, sprawling thing – 12 albums, so it was going to be interesting what tracks would get an airing, rich pickings indeed.
The EELs music has always been a powerful cacophony of eclectic genius, they have been shoe gazer indie, grunge, skiffle, punk and tonight they are all those things. Burning bright with a charisma that only comes from being confident in the music you play and the skin you walk in, they launch into a set of music that grabs the audience from note one.
E’s vocals are dirty and grungy, as they serve up a set of tracks that span the whole back catalogue including songs from the new album, which includes the tremolo guitar, beat driven groove that is “Bone Dry” what a great track, with that said they don’t shy away from the big tunes, the ones that put them on the map and a few are rolled out tonight, the stomping bluesy “Prizefighter”, from 2009’s Hombre Lobo, the brilliant “Novocaine for the Soul”, from the band’s 1996 debut Beautiful Freak, given a slight re working but still as powerful as ever, god I love that song, he could play it on a tin whistle and id still be loving it. “Souljacker” dirty and driving as ever, brilliant stuff, but even with the impressive amount of songs they have to choose from they still find time to throw in a cover or 2, Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” is given an airing and it takes the audience 20 or 30 seconds to realize that it’s a Prince songs, in the encore they also pull out a cover of Brian Wilsons “Love and Mercy”.
So after a set of nearly 30 songs and two hours, which to be fair didn’t feel like it was to long, it all came to an end, and it was a great night.
Eels and E, sometimes genius, sometime the idea doesn’t quite full fill its potential, but always rock and roll, in my humble opinion a truly great band with a truly brilliant, eccentric and reclusive front man and songwriter in Mark Oliver Everett, aka E
Eels – Novocaine For The Soul
Eels – Bone Dry
Eels – Prizefighter