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Eels - Brixton Academy, London, 1/9/2010

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 6 / 9 / 2010

Eels - Brixton Academy, London, 1/9/2010


Despite songs about death and suicide, Anthony Middleton finds the Eels to be surprisingly fun at a show at the Brixton Academy in London

Never one to do things the easy way, Mark Everett, E of the Eels, is currently touring on the back of three albums. To make life harder, the albums released just in just over a year, vary dramatically in style. 'Hombre Loco' is a hard-edged, bluesy paean to lust, while 'End Times' and Tomorrow Morning' are restrained meditations of loss and hope. For many artists, this would be a decade’s worth of work; for others a lifetime. So the only obvious way to deal with this is to arrive on stage with a beard down to chest, wrap-around sun glasses, bandana and boiler suit. Until he opened his mouth he could have been anyone. Once he launched into 'Daisies of the Galaxy', it could be no one else. Backed by a nearly equally hirsute, be-suited, be-spectaccled band, E cut a slightly disturbed figure. The last time he utilised this Unabomber look, he found the attention he got from nervy American security guards at airports enough reason to lose the beard. The last few times he has played in London it has been at those august halls, the Royal Festival and Albert, homes of the ‘serious’ rock star. Going back to Brixton seems a deliberate ploy; this was visceral stuff whereas the last tours, highlighting albums and a book which dealt with the untimely deaths of his parents and the suicide of his sister were more cerebral. As is often the case, the covers were among the highlights. There were full-throttle versions of 'Summer in the City' and the Stones’ 'She Said Yeah', and a deranged interpretation of 'Summertime'. A remarkable mashing of 'Twist and Shout' with 'Mr E’s Beautiful Blues' was, however, probably my highlight as it is the first time I have enjoyed two of my favourite songs at the same time. One could draw a comparison with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ alter ego Grinderman. Like E, they eschew razors and keyboards to show that, despite advancing years, they can recede back to times when more lofty concerns were ahead and lustier concerns were paramount. Other tour by the Eels may have been loftier or more emotionally demanding, none were quite as much fun.

Picture Gallery:-
Eels - Brixton Academy, London, 1/9/2010

Eels - Brixton Academy, London, 1/9/2010

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