As the epidemic gripped the world over, musicians were and are some of the most hard affected simply due to the nature of their audience wanting to gather in numbers to vocalise their love for songs out in the open plus to gather as a body to support their favourite artists. This is also clearly evident with the artists making the music, many frustrated at the strange times away from their fans, however, with the invention of modern technology and the WWW we can atleast gather at a distance through the medium of the internet.
Paul Weller has grabbed the opportunity to gather the mod’s together through the net with the recent broadcast; Mid-Sömmer Musik: A Paul Weller Special. Recorded at his own Black Barn Studios, Surrey in the summer of 2020 the setting looks divine, set in and around fields amongst the sumptuous greenery of the UK, his live band consist of long-time collaborator Steve Cradock on guitar, Andy Crofts on bass, Steve Pilgrim on drums, guitar and percussion, Ben Gordelier on drums and percussion, Tom Van Heel on keys with Jacko Peake making an appearance on brass, Peake was once a firm part of Weller band when his debut solo album landed back in the early 90’s. Now back in amongst the chosen few he adds an extra luxurious dimension to this all conquering group.
Starting off with the title track from his latest long player On Sunset, the band harmonise like the best in the business, and they are, a sweet charming chorus with the addition of Peake immediate long beaded necklace results are clearly evident. Old Father Tyme keeps the subtle soulful pace with those familiar surprising guitar fills by Cradock creep charmingly in and around each part of the song, the bands energy truly lifts any listener to happier state of mind. In amongst all the charming memorabilia dotted about the walls on the studio including pictures of The Beatles, a jukebox packed full of fab classics as well as pop art dotted about the place, the whole feel of the event is one of natural talent, without pomp.
Of the new material Moving Canvas is the first out of the blocks, a charging Rolling Stones guitar riff feel, an alternative Jumping Jack Flash, the sort of tune that would get the excitable front row old punks jumping like their lives depended on it, the footage shows Weller jumping excitably midway through before there’s a guitar duel between the Modfather and Cradock. Testify is a confessional number with Bishop Weller leading the congregation in unison to this flute gospel gallop with a shouty chorus from his fellow band mates. Still Glides The Stream is a gentle emotional piano number in a similar vein to Here’s The Good News, but with a slight ease off the acceleration, Weller’s voice has aged as well, he sings delicately ‘be careful what you ignore’ before Pilgrim gets a vocal solo near the end of the track.
There’s also time for a couple of acoustic lead numbers in the guise of the soaring Gravity and Aspects plus the Beach Boy pop explosion of Village with the set ending on the Bowie-esque Rockets with the closing Oh Happy Day feel of Mayfly leaving the viewers in no doubt, thankfully, that Weller has still got it, in bags full.
Paul Weller can be found via his own website