Skip to main content

Paul Weller At The Haiti Earthquake Fundraiser!

Last night’s benefit concert for the victims of the Haiti earthquake wasn’t the music industry’s fastest response to the disaster. For that, we must cede grudging respect to Simon Cowell’s reinvention of Everybody Hurts. This hastily organised show, featuring Paul Weller, Mr Hudson, Seasick Steve, Futureheads and KT Tunstall, no doubt appealed to music fans resistant to Cowell’s pan-celebrity pop fondue who wanted to empty their pockets into the donation buckets.

An altogether different kind of charity was needed to deal with the sight of The Humans (featuring Toyah Willcox and her husband Robert Fripp) playing a succession of songs so uniformly awful that the applause they elicited stemmed from the realisation that mere silence would simply heighten the sense of communal embarrassment.

The fast-moving nature of this benefit meant that necessity begat invention. On the face of it, an acoustic set by the angular Tyneside art-poppers The Futureheads didn’t show promise, but a spirited blitz through the new single Heartbeat Song and Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love showed a warmth dormant in their songs. Flourishing in the face of similar restrictions, Kanye West’s favourite British songwriter Mr Hudson ditched the synths and autotune for guitar, navigating his way to a kettledrum-denting climax on Supernova.

Yet for all the good intentions willing this to be an unforgettable night, the evening needed an injection of intensity to nudge the atmosphere beyond mere conviviality. The attributes that have propelled KT Tunstall to this point in her career – the blithe, sisterly bonhomie that pervaded Black Horse and The Cherry Tree and a new song called Greenland – were somewhat surplus to requirements on the night.

No such problem with Paul Weller, of course. At 51, the Modfather has little to prove – not least on a bill where his name was perhaps the biggest draw.

Unencumbered by any need to pace himself for a full-length set, Weller led his band into an incendiary version of 7 and 3 is the Striker’s Name from his forthcoming album Wake Up the Nation. As that song’s synergy of dense psychedelic guitars and firecracker drums wound to a close, Weller tore into a three-song burst of Jam hits: a rare rendition of Start! drew a communal gasp. But his version of A Town Called Malice was possibly among his best ever – Weller all but set to burst with joy on the line, “Stop apologising for the things you’ve never done.”

All told, the task of following Weller was best left to a performer with even more experience.

Few would have said, in all honesty that the itinerant Mississippi bluesman Seasick Steve emulated what had gone before him. But as a cockle-warming close to an at times extraordinary evening, the short set was hard to fault. “That was a three-string guitar that suddenly turned into a two-string guitar” he joked at the end of Thunderbird.

Then, on Never Go West, he celebrated a genre that, in less skilled hands, would have seemed drowned in the aspic of pastiche.

A spine-tingling climax to a night of eclectic mayhem.

By: Pete Paphides
From: Times Online


Popular posts from this blog

Paul Weller's Son, Natt Gives A Candid Taxi Interview

Where else to meet the musician son of the agelessly groovy Modfather but at London’s trendy Met Bar? And there’s more than a hint of moody Mod style about the Japanese parka that Paul Weller’s eldest child Natt has slung over his Vivienne Westwood top.

Yet there all similarity ends, for singer-guitarist Natt has inherited the exotic beauty of his mother – former Wham! and Style Council backing singer Dee C Lee – rather than the famously angular features of his father.

‘Everybody always goes, “Luckily he took after his mum…”’ laughs Natt, whose mother is from France and St Lucia and whose great-great grandma was Japanese. Hence Natt’s fascination for Japan, where he moved in 2006 for a year to learn the language.

To pay for his studies, he modelled and deejayed, ‘I felt like an outsized monster,’ confides Natt, 21, a 6ft 1in beanpole. He returned a fan of Japan’s popular culture – from manga cartoons to punk-goth music – and with a different spelling to his name, which now features two ‘…

John Weller Obituary From The Independent...

For thirty years, John Weller managed the career of his son Paul, through the salad days and success of The Jam in the Seventies and early Eighties, the ups and downs of The Style Council and Paul’s re-emergence as a solo artist in the Nineties. Theirs was a unique father-son relationship in the music industry, built on John’s unwavering belief in Paul’s talent and shared values like hard work and pragmatism.

John could be blunt, and once refused to have lunch in a record company’s executive dining room, remarking to the managing director: “I didn’t come here to eat, I came to do business.” But his bark was worse than his bite.

John’s success was all the more remarkable since he started in his forties after years working in factories, on building sites and driving a taxi. When The Jam signed to Polydor in February 1977, for a £6,000 advance and a six per cent royalty rate, John admitted he didn’t have a bank account and asked for cash instead of a cheque. A&R man Chris Parry duly we…

Paul Weller Feature From The Daily Mail!

There's life in the old mod yet: At 50 Paul Weller's still chasing his dreams...
By Adrian ThrillsThe Daily Mail
Paul Weller has always been a restless soul. When he disbanded The Jam in 1982, even his dad thought he'd taken leave of his senses. And while most of his original peers now make a living by trading on past glories, he is generally reluctant to play old hits. Even when he was garlanded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brits in 2006, he cut an incongruous figure. As pop's bright young things swanned around with their entourages, he could be found strolling about backstage with his children, itching to get on stage before heading home.

If anything, that Brit Award seems to have spurred him to strive even harder, and he marked his recent 50th birthday by topping the charts with 22 Dreams, the most diverse album of his career. 'I didn't want to become one of those people whose best work is behind them once they get to a certain age,' he says o…