Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paul Weller : 9:30 Club 7-30-13

I confess, I really haven't listened to Paul Weller on a regular basis since the mid-late 90's. His trifecta of great solo albums: "Wild Wood", "Stanley Road" and "Heavy Soul" were some of the better albums of authentic music released in that decade...

After that, he lost me a bit. Things started sounding a bit repetitive, hooks not as strong..
I did give a quick listen to 2010's "Wake up the Nation", liking the title track...

I've always liked some of his Jam songs and a couple of Style Council singles were guilty pleasures....

I recently won tickets to see him at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. I have never seen him and figured this would be a great opportunity.

Driving to DC to and from Baltimore on a weeknight and standing for 3 + hours is probably a bit much for me these days, but I'm glad I went. The 9:30 Club is a pretty cool place. If you get there early, you really have your choice of good places to stand. The neighborhood is a bit sketchy and I was worried when I parked my car on a side street and saw "RIP Trayvon" spray painted walls of the adjacent building (tensions are high these days..)...

Weller didn't disappoint. Every song was presented with power and passion. The newer stuff sounded much fresher and vital live. To his credit, it was impressive that he managed to jell such a diverse catalog into one strong uniform sound throughout the evening.

Checking the internet ( it seems like Paul was shaking up the setlist order during this brief tour. 
He opened with "Peacock Suit" from "Heavy Soul". 
A great, tough guitar-oriented track.

he then ripped into the aforementioned "Wake up the Nation" for a great one-two punch to open the show.

The Style Council's "My Ever Changing Moods" brought a nostalgic joy to the crowd. Without horns or glitzy production,  the song was stripped down to it's fine pop basics.


Newer songs from his most recent release "Sonik Kicks" came alive in the concert setting. "Kling I Kling" packed the punch of early Jam and Clash. He really should try to capture this energy on his studio recordings...

The band eased into "Friday Street"; one of the better tracks from "Heavy Soul". 

Weller sat down at the keyboard for the newer "Dragonfly"; a song he said he co-wrote with his daughter.

The crowd's patience was then rewarded with two of the Jam's classic songs "That's Entertainment" and "Start". No question, the Jam tracks got the biggest reactions from the crowd. 
"That's Entertainment" became and energetic singalong,

while "Start" with it's "Taxman" like riffs and stuttering pace energized the throng.

The end of the regular set and encore moved into some of Weller's strongest solo songs: "The Changingman", "Sunflower", "Wild Wood" 


and "Broken Stones" (with Paul back at the keyboard)

Rising from the keyboard and strapping a Telecaster on, Paul launched into "A Town Called Malice". the place erupted in to a frenzy as the crowd shouted out the choruses with him.


After over 35 years of performing, Weller proved his talent that night. While he is not revered here in the States like he is in the UK, the fans that attended the show surely showed their appreciation for the  "Modfather" and left very satisfied by the performance.

all photos and video taken by me.

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