Music review: Eels, O2 Academy, Glasgow

Any act that elects to arrive on stage to the triumphant strains of Bill Conti’s adrenaline-pumping Rocky fanfare had better deliver the goods to back it up. This igneous set from Mark Everett’s Eels was anything but anti-climactic.

Mark Everett

Music review: Eels, O2 Academy, Glasgow ****

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Their opening salvo of covers – The Who’s Out in the Street, Bobbie Gentry’s Mississippi Delta and Prince’s Raspberry Beret – cast them as an unusually rocking and eclectic wedding band. After that, save for a juicy version of Larry Williams’ R&B nugget She Said Yeah, it was great Eels originals all the way. Situated on his “lead singer riser”, the shades and trilby-clad Everett switched between electric guitar and various percussion instruments – tambourine, castanets, cowbell and maracas – while throwing animated shapes and engaging the crowd with voluble, funny asides. A magnanimous bandleader, he also allowed his current Eels line-up – former mall model The Chet (guitar), Big Al (bass) and Little Joe (drums) – their moments in the spotlight.

Everett is sometimes pigeonholed as a sensitive indie romantic, and while the tender likes of Dirty Girl backed up that assertion, tonight he mainly focused on the bluesy garage rock and dirty bubblegum sides of his extensive back catalogue. You are the Shining Light conjured images of kinky-booted go-go dancers frugging wildly on ‘60s pop show Shindig!. Prizefighter found yet another home for The Yardbirds’ chugging I’m a Man riff. Flyswatter sounded like the Inspector Gadget theme tune being mauled by Tom Waits. What a blast, the swellest of parties. Paul Whitelaw