Back in June I saw Eels (not “the Eels”…just Eels)
Eels is basically a guy named Mark Oliver Everett who calls himself E. with a rotating cast of backing musicians. This show was a warm up for a world tour that would take him around the world (literally), the next shows after this were in China and even a stop in Glastonbury.
E. is sort of known for being somewhat of an enigma and at the same time having been very open about his struggles in dealing with the death of his father, his mother to cancer and his sister to suicide. (He did the album “electro-shock blues” in the mid 90’s that addressed the topic). In other words, this is music of depth and can be challenging. He’s done quite a few albums (more than I own) and I wouldn’t say they are casual listening.
So, I went into the show not quite knowing what to expect.
The opening act “The Watson Twins” were fun and well suited. A nice cover of “ain’t no sunshine” highlighted their brief set.
There was an out of kilter feel to the night that was enhanced by the intermission music which included “Sunshine Lollipops” and a german version of “Leader of the Pack”….(I totally love artists who pay attention to the little details like the specifics of what to play before they hit the stage. This was too wonderfully weird to have been an accident.)
But now here’s where I fall down as a reviewer and what vexed me into not writing this up before. I couldn’t tell you the names of half the songs he did, I’m not familiar enough with his material I guess…..I ended up with notes like “driving hellhound beat, with long sustained guitar grind” and “maybe called I’ve got fear? – driving punk beat”. Not exactly useful in the light of day.
It was confounding, challenging and completely brilliant stuff.
A few things I know he did play: “Daddy was a drunk”, “She’s Dynamite”, “This is Where it Gets Good”, “Novocain for the Soul”, “I Like the Way this is Going”….and even a great version of “Hot Fun in the Summertime” (Sly and the Family Stone) that lead into another funk number I didn’t recognize.
There are some free downloads on the website: Go and explore for yourself http://www.eelstheband.com/
Here’s a song he did as part of the second encore, “Fresh Blood”:
Here’s a version of the Sly cover:
Here’s “Novocain for the Soul”
This was just one of those shows that defy’s description. It was one of the top ten shows that I saw all year, but it’s impossible to exactly describe why. I’d just say, if you get a chance to check him out, do so…and park your expectations at the door. You’ll have a good time.