Paul Weller lifts spirits at Brixton

Paul Weller – 24 November 2008, Brixton Academy

On a cold, Monday night at Brixton it took a marathon gig full of nostalgia to finally lift this crowd into a frenzied finale.  By the last song, A Town called Malice, everyone was dancing with delight.   Weller, in his 50th year, was on fine form, partnered by his long-term friend and musical soul-mate, Steve Cradock,  though it took a lot of sweat and a set featuring his vast array of hits and classics to galvanise the audience.  There was a half hearted attempt at recreating the pagan-atmosphere of 22 Dreams, Cello, loops and keyboards added to the uncertainty, though this was eventually dispensed of and only on familiar territory did everyone feel at home.

Much of tonight’s gig was centered around the multi-million selling, Stanley Road, with an apocalyptic version of Whirlpools End finishing the first encore.  Broken Stones was funked up, while Changing Man was as strident and self prophesising as ever.  Disappointingly only one song from his  masterpiece, Wild Wood, the titular single revamped into electro dub, good effort but without the violin playing of Eliza Carthy– as seen on the BBC performance – it lacked the mystical glow.  With a small string and horn section this gig could have transformed some of Wellers work into transcendental majesty.  Though it was a good old fashioned South London knees-up the man was really after.  That’s Entertainment vibrated around the venue with 4000 strong humming the melody, while Eton Rifles roared with vemom.  After 2 hours 15 minutes, Weller left the stage bouncing off with the energy and vim of a 25 year old

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