Following the blistering set by the Gramotones, I was more than pumped by the time Paul Weller and his band of talented of musicians took to the stage. With the band containing Steve Cradock on guitar and including a couple of Moons in the line-up I could not be more buzzing for this one (well, perhaps if The Cradock Band and The Moons had also played on the same bill… “If Carlsberg did festivals…”)
The set opened with ‘Sunflower’ and kicked-in from the offset with ‘From The Floorboards Up’ following. Inspired by the energy the band feel on-stage from the crowd (written on the back of a performance in Glasgow), I feel the song radiates energy back to the crowd and after hearing it at the Barrowland last year was blown away by power and intensity of the song live. ‘Wake Up The Nation’ is another in the same category and I love the passion in Paul’s vocal as he sings “We’re going to wake up the nation” … Someone has to! Another cracker from the WUTN album follows in the form of ‘Fast Car, Slow Traffic’. Again, this is another personal fav and it is the guitar and bass sound of this one that I particularly love. ‘Come On/Let’s Go’ also sounds dynamite as the opening tracks highlight the sheer quality of tracks Mr Weller has given his fans in recent years.
‘Sea Spray’ and ‘My Ever Changing Moods’ put the brakes on the break-neck speed of the opening set and as someone who enjoys The Style Council, I am delighted to hear ‘My Ever Changing Moods’. I am always puzzled with the anti Style Council stance by some fans and would employ all fans to check out The Style Council material as you may find you are pleasantly surprised (a good reference point for this is the recently published Mr Cool’s Dream by Iain Munn).
Highpoints are a constant throughout this set with both Weller and his band sounding at their best on the back of a series of dates across Europe. It’s hard to find fault with any of the songs and hearing ‘Broken Stones’, ‘The Attic’, ‘Friday Street’, ‘Porcelain Gods’, ‘You Do Something To Me’, ‘Dragonfly’ and ‘Peacock Suit’ live, it’s clear why these songs are staples of the current Weller set list. To the delight of The Jam fans in attendance, ‘Start!’ closes the opening set with what appears to be the entire audience singing along at the top of their lungs.
After a short interval Paul and his band return to the stage with opening track to current album More Modern Classics, ‘He’s The Keeper’. For me this track is a real grower with Cradock sounding brilliant as always on guitar. The venue itself was perfect… picture-esque, not too rammed and with a terrific atmosphere with all in attendance appearing to be there to enjoy their day and the music on offer. ‘Out Of The Sinking’ and the dreamy ‘Be Happy Children’ also featured and sounded terrific as the set moved towards its close.
‘Wild Blue Yonder’ is another highlight and sets up the audience for the explosive curtain closers ‘The Changingman’ and Jam classic ‘Town Called Malice’. As a big fan I had been following the tour on-line and knew exactly what to expect in terms of set-list but was taken aback at just how great the tunes sounded on the day, with Steve Pilgrim in particular killing it on the drums. Weller forever!