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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Paul Weller - SECC - 4/12/10 (Glasgow)

The Modfather is a strange moniker to bestow on Paul Weller. Does it even really fit?
I ask because after discussing Weller's career with Kel and Kenny (Days Of Our Youth blog) I see this father of mod title being something that's at odds to the reality.
We could start off by claiming he wasn't even part of the mod scene, but more so someone who instead ushered in a post mod sub culture, but then again apart from the suits and the scooters The Jam were, and always will be, a punk band at heart.
The mod tag was always hanging on a loose peg wasn't it?
Then there was even less modish antics musically with his cappuccino kid years with The Style Council.
His leaning towards some jazzy arrangements, French student gap year attire and a penchant for wearing a sweater draped over his shoulders didn't really do much to cement in a modfather reputation in my opinion, but maybe it did for some.
By the time he slipped into his solo career there was more of a late sixties lets party with the Small Faces vibe going on and I can see how the mod thing could hang onto that, but maybe my memory is playing tricks with me as I think he already had the tag of modfather at that time.
So how the hell did Weller become this mod king? The artists that anyone with a parka would pay homage to?
Answers on a postcard please.
Anyway regardless of whatever anyone wants to call the fella I do have to say that last nights gig in the cavernous and soulless SECC was pretty impressive.
He seems to have four distinct careers. His time leading The Jam, his Style Council years, his solo career and now, while still just going under the name Paul Weller, a new psych rock direction.
This must make it a bit difficult to have a thread of appeal and while some people would say rubbish and point to the amount of people who profess to be his fans, I would argue that many of them are fans of certain distinct periods.
Proof of this is in how the crowd flows in and out of the auditorium depending on what part of his career he is focussing on.
What floats some peoples boats certainly doesn't do the same for everyone.
For myself I'm a Jam fan and love the direction of the new album. So I was more than covered as he was keen to promote the new stuff on this tour, and apparently no longer has an issue with embracing his Jam period.
The set itself is peppered with the old and new and a simple nod is given to what has come in between.
You could say he was playing everything that book ends his career I suppose.
Christ. He even did a run through of Art School, a real blast from the past that featured on In the City. I'm not sure that many people would have expected that.
Glaringly obvious by the lack of attention was the Style Council period. If that was the part of his career that someone most identified with then I suspect they would have been very disappointed as I don't recall him playing one song from that era.
I could however be wrong on that score and he might have slipped one in unnoticed like an opportunist burglar with a shot of Rohypnol, but I'm sure someone will correct me given half a chance.
Even what I would call his Wild Wood era, while visited, wasn't the focus of the show either.
So as I said earlier.
Fine by me.
If I could have picked the set list then it would have probably featured much of what he played.
All in we had a good time and while I had went with the intention of enjoying a freebie I ended up pretty much having to say that there is still life in the old dog yet.
Would I go and see him again is the question though.
The answer would be if it was for free, then of course. If it was say twenty to twenty five quid I would consider it, but anything above that then sorry.
While good, I'm getting to the point that I have to question how much is too much to ask for a ticket.


  1. Very well written Mainy, and you bring up some fantastic points. Firstly I am glad you and Kel had a good time and that Weller rocked. The Jam were the spearhead of the revival, but yes you are correct, they were a punk band through and through. Later like many of the class of 76-77 they moved on and went from strength to strength. Defining him as the modfather especially with his post Jam stuff is kinda hard to swallow. The Style Council had little to do with the whole mod revival that was going on in the late 70's to early 80's, and were more of just pop pap. Lucky for me I am just a fan of The Jam and pretty much that is it.

  2. Well I would have to disagree about the well written bit, but thanks.
    I wrote the bit at the start the morning after the gig, and the rest today.

  3. total rubbish "Then there was even less modish antics musically with his cappuccino kid years with The Style Council". The last album with the Style Council was an effort for the band to try new approach and a new sound which weller viewed as modernism, eg modernism which means new. To weller's ears this was mod to him ;P

  4. Nice to see more nonymous comments.
    Mod, short for modern, like Pop for popular were very loose terms when coined, but over the years became words that define a certain sound.
    As such, I don't feel that "The Style Councils" music had a mod feel to it. Some people will agree, some people will disagree.
    Some people would buy a recording of Weller farting into a bottle and still call it mod though.
    Fair enough. It's not my problem. I'm pleased my little review has moved you to retort.