MC HonkyEdit this event
If opener MC Honky really is an alter-ego of Eels mastermind Mark ‘E’ Everett then boy does he make an effort to persuade us otherwise. There’s the elaborate Abe Lincoln-style costume (complete with apparently authentic bald patch), coupled with his re-appearance with the band after the encore, that all suggest otherwise. Either way, the note-perfect DJ set and identity-defying man himself are all a part of the quirky charm that Eels fans have learned to expect.
The headliners arrive on stage to rapturous applause, with E battling his way through the audience to reach his band, mouth organ firmly in tow. Long-term drummer Butch has been replaced for the night by his slimline alter-ego/‘cousin’ Puddin, while he gallivants around the world with Tracy Chapman’s band. Other than that, all is well in the warped world of the Eels.
Tonight there is none of the pantomime aspect of former shows. The songs are by-and-large zipped through with three minute finesse, with nary a drum solo to be found. There’s heartbreak (superb renditions of 'Last Stop: This Town' and 'It’s A Motherfucker'), grinding rock ('Agony' and opener/closer 'All In A Day’s Work') and the odd crowd-pleasing single thrown in for good measure (newbie 'Saturday Morning' being a welcome highlight).
New LP Shootenanny is played out almost in its entirety, which is fine, cos it’s a grand return to form after the mixed bag that was 2001’s Souljacker. The only disappointment is a lacklustre ‘Novocaine For The Soul’, played with none of the shades of emotion that once made it great. Despite this minor glitch and a marked aversion to give the crowd what they want – ‘Mr E’s Beautiful Blues’, ‘Susan’s House’ or ‘Your Lucky Day In Hell’ are all no-shows – there are no regrets on either side of the stage barrier tonight. Two encores and a spirited rendition of a ZZ Top classic later, and the formerly seated crowd are pushed up against the railings and dancing along to E’s electric circus.
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kingsley, Souljacker.co.uk
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