Eels, O2 Academy, Glasgow, Tue 19 Mar 2013
Mark Oliver Everett and co deliver a wandering set that doesn't do tribute to their back catalogue
Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett, or 'E' as he’s affectionately known, is often viewed as a complex character, delicately wearing heart on proverbial sleeve while providing an insight into his ponderous psyche, which is peppered with love, loss and tragedy in spades. Yet tonight with enough remedial charisma to cure the Monday blues he invokes an entirely different persona: a mischievous raconteur who relishes his position as a pedestalled bandleader.
Opening with ‘Bombs Away’ from new album Wonderful, Glorious the band are lined up on stage like a 60s pop troupe while sporting matching Adidas tracksuits and LA cop sunglasses, a bit like some warped attempt at a Beastie Boys video shoot. The sense of self-parody that E brings to the stage is quite a refreshing departure from the usual melancholia that often plagues his lyrics; however this does create a sense of tedium and it grows tiresome after a while. Pointless Fleetwood Mac and Small Faces covers detract from an otherwise worthwhile back catalogue that E could have delved further into, creating a show that was both resonant and visceral while instilling a sense of joy through his humorous onstage antics. The groovy guitar licks of Souljacker and a mash-up of hits 'My Beloved Monster' and 'Mr E’s Beautiful Blues' are all a bit too little too late. As the house lights come up after a second encore and the audience hurriedly shuffle out of the aisles, the band make one last appearance while their crew tiptoe around them eager to pack up for the night. Seemingly impromptu renditions of ‘Stick Together’ and ‘Go EELS!’ create an intimate and gnarly vibe amongst the remaining faithful - if only it had been present throughout the entire gig.