LIVE REVIEW: Paul Weller Leicester 9.4.24

LIVE REVIEW: Paul Weller Leicester 9.4.24

Search the meaning of the word aging brings up these phrases; crumbling, declining, fading, fermenting, mellowing, slumping, stale and waning. Whilst this might describe ancient trees decaying through millenniums of misuse and misguided care, slowing down or taking a breather to catch up with the younger genesis of sprouting vegetation doesn’t affect the astute creative flow or on stage prowess of the leader of the modernist pack Mr Paul Weller.

Defying his mid 60’s retirement age, Weller is endowed with rare bones only conserved for a rare few from his generation of punk purveyors, creating music with diverse excellence and a timeless inheritance. On this day 2 years ago Weller was in the exact same place, Leicester De Montfort Hall, mincing with the wise and noble exhibiting tracks from his latest release Fat Pop Volume 1. Tonight, he’s back, looking as sharp as Keith Guster’s heyday in tailored brown cords and white T shirt plus Zeha trainers, this evenings set list being a wealthy mix of straight out guitar pop anthems, tracks from his stunning forthcoming new album 66, soul to soul preeminent ballads and new national anthems.

Support band Barbara have tinges of Pulp/World Of Twist which receive generous applause, Weller and his band bound onstage to Rip Up The Pages sirens, ever-present sidekick guitar scientist Steve Cradock adds drops of hermetics chords; familiar mainstay sage Steve Pilgrim on drums, backing vocals and guitars whilst his drumming partner Ben Gordelier performs his own service and MOT to his on stage tool kit, the commotion pair duel together like a winning pots and pans duo from Opportunity Knocks; Tom Van Heel leans towards the sort of playing that made Fame and Wonder so effective; returning early 90’s band member Jacko Peake is the Bennie Maupin of the band with newest member bassist/backing vocalist Jake Fletcher earning his stripes after a brief episode of bass slapping with Inspiral Carpets. The quartet of Pilgrim, Van Heel, Cradock and Fletcher harmonize as Danko, Helm, Manuel and Robertson did so majestically in Winterland.

When creative juices flow between this much wealth of on-stage talent sometimes the chemical balance can be thrown way out of synch causing monstrous results, fortunately Dr Franken-Weller has constructed a musical beast both visually appealing and kind to the ears, with no clunky bolts keeping key factors together, instead a smooth operation between all components is frequent, without weakness or blunders. Tonight’s highlights include modern punk Cosmic Fringes fusing into new track Soul Wandering sounding like prime Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac; timeless Wild Wood era single Hung Up, dedicated to Cradock Sr, sounds like the folk song Tim Hardin should have written; right here right now the world needs HeadStart For Happiness which hopefully whoever takes over from the claptrap Torys will use as their lead anthem.

Co-written with ‘your friend and mine’ Noel Gallagher iridescent Jumble Queen along with the gracefully poignant Nothing only whet the appetite for the May album release; Fat Pop is dedicated to music as a whole, young and old, bond and free; Mayfly and Rockets enter the atmosphere of tonight’s theatre raising the roof off the sparce arena, Mayfly particularly features some gorgeous playing from Cradock; ‘there’s something wrong with you if you don’t know this next tune’ exclaims Weller prior to That’s Entertainment, he’s not wrong; All The Pictures On The Wall reminds us of the masterstrokes of Weller’s early 90’s releases, whilst Glad Times, Village and Stanley Road add their own definitive stamp of ingenuity.

The dearest and venerated close out the set; STaRt! has been revered ever since Foxton wore his hip hugging extra small t shirt adorning the 7” sleeve; Peacock Suit deserves the Trevor Burton-esque hi kick Cradock gives; Broken Stones dons its cap to the swirling overworldly set of lighting effects gracing the interior landscapes, whilst the sonic bow out of The Changingman leaves the forever youthful parka clad mods in the front row working out like their watching Mad Lizzie in lycra.

There are not many more superlatives I can give on yet another night of spellbinding showmanship, the Weller train looks set to fly past all it’s human inclined stops, free riding to its way to its next destination to exhibit more super human handiwork.

You can find more news about Paul Weller via the following link

All photos are copyrighted to Robert Barrett Photography 

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Matt Mead

Matt Mead

Freelance writer who likes anything with heart and soul