Apr 28, 2008

Eels @ Enmore Theatre

A night of highly original entertainment. A night of bleeding humanity. A night of biting humour. A night where heart collided headlong into pain. And WE were the winners. E, Mr E, Mark Everett or more commonly Eels entranced, bewitched and stupified the Enmore Theatre Sunday night. Delightfully named "An Evening with Eels", it was a night to place in your heart for future references. For future references when or if your world turns to shit and you need a little reminder that burning embers of genius are alight on this sometimes mundane planet. I had seen Eels a few years ago at the same venue, but it was an odd and somewhat unsatisfactory show. The Rock was turned up to 11 that night, so I was hoping that this show would allow the words and music of Mr Everett to soar and dazzle with greater clarity . Thankfully, we were placed on the gossamer wings of a dove and flown to a land where words matter and sounds flow like rushing water.

Before the main event we witnessed an hour long BBC documentary about E's family history. Unfortunately I missed the start. But what I saw was truly moving and profound. If you don't know, Mark Everett's father was Hugh Everett, a world famous quantum physicist. He died at the age of 52. Tragedy struck again, when his sister and mother both died in the late '90s. A just released book, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know" covers this sad history. The film was a unique and revealing portrait of the artist we were about to see. And what an artist. E (I shall call him this from now on) entered the stage and sat down to play electric guitar. "A Magic World" opened and it was apt. For this night was full of magic and wonder. But the magic is real, if that makes sense. Well, put it this way. I believe the greatest art comes from creating something extraordinary from the ordinary. Like stuffing your real life experiences with a beauty and a spirit that can touch you in truly special way. This was best shown on the second song. E went to the piano and played "It's A Motherfucker". The keys trembled and so did our hearts. Pain and anguish can be just so damn uplifting sometimes, you know. Basically E moved from guitar to piano through out the night. He was joined on stage by "The Chet", who was a stunning musician. E claimed he played fourteen instruments. I don't doubt it. My favourite was the Saw! There were a truck load of highlights. "Packing Blankets" was a symphony of joy. "Souljacker, Part I" was a throbbing mess of blues, whilst "Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor" was simply heartbreaking. "Jeannie's Diary" was blissful on piano and "Novocaine for the Soul" was ramped up and hard as nails with E taking the drums on this one. I think though the two show stoppers were a thunderous "Flyswatter" where E and The Chet swapped drums and piano three times as the song assumed epic proportions before it dissolved into "Bus Stop Boxer" and the closer "Souljacker, Part II". This soulful wreck of a song delivers a deliberate and absolute emotional punch. Its words are delivered with stark honesty.

"Souljacker can't get my soul
Ate my carcass in a black manhole
Souljacker can't get my soul
He can shoot me up full of bullet holes
But the souljacker can't get my soul"

This show was just a total experience. Not only great music and vocals, E's voice is raspy and gravelly, his heart echoes from his throat. But there were hilarious "readings" of fan letters and gig reviews by E and revealing excerpts of his book were read by The Chet. E's humour is sharp and acerbic. After describing his father, very famous in his own world, he described himself as "the Julian Lennon of Quantum Physics". He also urged the audience, at one point, to "soft rock" out. Hilarious. The audience was actually excellent, attentive and respectful. Except for someone who was determined to clap along to various songs. Rule one number one. Eels songs are not hand clapping material. If I could have changed one thing I would have suggested that E place his piano around the other way. As he had his back turned to me and the audience all the time he was positioned at the piano. But luckily for us, his heart and his mind and his soul were situated firmly and forcefully in the centre of our hearts. Surely, a night to remember.

Set List
From Which I Came/A Magic World
It's A Motherfucker
Strawberry Blonde
Packing Blankets
After The Operation
Souljacker, Part I
Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor
Climbing To The Moon
My Beloved Monster
I Like Birds
-fan mail and book reading-
Jeannie's Diary
In The Yard, Behind The Church
-book reading-
Last Stop: This Town
I Want To Protect You
Flyswatter
Bus Stop Boxer
Novocaine For The Soul
Good Times, Bad Times (Led Zeppelin cover)
Somebody Loves You
Souljacker, Part II

I'm Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart

Blinking Lights (For Me)

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