Weller Starts To Sing, The Crowd Erupts And My Heart Skips A Beat
Sitting in my car, driving to Llandudno’s Venue Cymru, to see the legendary Paul Weller, the man who has had the biggest influence on my musical life, I started to think this might be the hardest review I have ever written and the most exciting gig I have ever photographed. Numero uno on my Photography Bucket List; how do you review your musical hero?
So here goes. I enter the venue, it is already pretty full and as I expected, the age group is on the more mature side of life. I guess it was always going to be that way considering Paul Weller’s first single with The Jam was back in 1977 at the tender age of 19.
The Jam led to The Style Council and The Style Council led to his illustrious solo career. Altogether throughout his career, he has released no less than16 studio albums, including 5 number ones and 5 live albums. He has released 34 singles with 5 landing in the top ten and 19 in the top twenty and 4 number 1 singles with The Jam. Pretty impressive stuff; no wonder this man is a British music icon, a legend of British guitar music, soulful and uber cool. He has earned his title – the MODFATHER.
The stage lights dim, and the venue goes quiet, Paul Weller walks on to the stage and as the screeching guitar intro of “White Sky” kicks in and Weller starts to sing, the crowd erupts and my heart skips a beat. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I nearly forget to put the camera up to my eye and start shooting.
The band sound so tight and let’s not forget to mention another Mod musical legend on stage tonight, bandmate from Weller’s solo career for a long time, famous in his own right with Ocean Colour Scene, Steve Craddock. He truly is a guitar genius, shamefully underrated and does not get the accolades he deserves.
Weller is playing for two and a half hours tonight, with the back catalogue this man has, I’m sure a 21/2-hour set is still only scratching the surface, so it’s time to settle in for something very special.
“Cosmic Fringes”, “Peacock Suit” get a great reception but there is a massive roar when the band kicks into The Style Council song “My Ever-Changing Moods” and the whole venue is singing along.
There is an effortlessness to Weller’s voice; like a fine wine it has got even better with age, it has more timbre, more body, its supremely soulful and tonight it sounds perfect to me.
Weller alternates between the guitar and the piano and when he sits down and plays “You Do Something To Me”, from what would be considered his most successful solo album “Stanley Road” it sounds amazing and the crowd watch in awe, before deciding to sing along. This was one of my many favourite moments of the night.
Tonight is a balancing act for Weller, giving the sold-out Venue Cymru crowd what they want to hear, and also giving himself and the band the songs they want to play. Sometimes that doesn’t sync, but tonight I think he got the balance spot on. He played songs spanning his whole career, but he saved The Jam songs till last in the form of “That’s Entertainment” and “A Town Called Malice” and these two songs alone bring the house down, what a way to finish!
So, with the night ending and smiley happy people making their way home, it was amazing how many songs played tonight connect me to certain times, places and people in my life. Some of the memories were happy, some were sad, but I loved every minute of it.
Yes, Paul Weller is my idol, but he is also an amazing songwriter with a career spanning 3 decades. And tonight showed why he is still here. YES, that IS entertainment…. thank you Paul for everything you have given me and thank you for the influence you have given to British music since the 1970s to present day.
1/ WHITE SKY
2/ COSMIC FRINGES
3/ PEACOCK SUIT
4/ MY EVER CHANGING MOODS
5/ HUNG UP
6/ SATURNS PATTERN
7/ THAT PLEASURE
8/ SHOUT TO THE TOP
11/ OLD FATHER THYME
12/ STANLEY ROAD
13/ BROKEN STONES
14/ THE CHANGINMAN
15/ PORCELAIN GODS
16/ YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME
17/ STILL GLIDES THE STREAM
18/ SHADES OF BLUE
19/ ABOVE THE CLOUDS
20/ WILD WOOD
22/ INTO TOMORROW
23/ FRIDAY STREET
24/ OLD SUNSET
26/ CAN YOU HEAL US
27/ THATS ENTERTAINMENT
28/ TOWN CALLED MALICE
FOLLOW PAUL WELLER
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.