- 17 Jul 03
Events take a downturn as, instead of the playful Beck/Weezer quirkiness we are expecting, the set seems formulaic, packed with three-chord, straight-up-and-down tracks, delivered as though the band are on autopilot.
There’s a girl directly to my left attempting the Times crossword as we wait for Eels to take to the stage. Uh-oh. It’s probably going to be one of those evenings.
To be fair, things kick off rather promisingly, with Eels frontman Mark ‘E’ Everett descending upon the venue from one of the circle boxes, playing harmonica under the Olympia spotlight, to the apparent delight of the audience. However, events take a downturn as, instead of the playful Beck/Weezer quirkiness we are expecting, the set seems formulaic, packed with three-chord, straight-up-and-down tracks, delivered as though the band are on autopilot. Everett, in spite of his dramatic entrance, barely acknowledges the audience, and both band and audience appear as subdued as the music. ‘Novocaine For The Soul’, for example, is stripped of all dots and loops, and seems heavier and much more soulless when played live.
But suddenly, as though a switch has been turned on inside him, Everett begins to engage with the audience… and then he can’t shut up. The audience responds warmly to his calls for cheap applause (why is it we get so chuffed and overexcited when bands say that Dublin is the best city they’ve ever played in?). Everett, though he looks like the worlds unlikeliest and most reluctant rock star, what with the shirt tucked into the jeans and all, is a man blessed with a wonderfully bluesy voice, and an ear for an upbeat, catchy melody. However, the celestial qualities of albums Electro Shock Blues and Daisies Of The Galaxy, as well as the poppy Beautiful Freak seem lost in the band’s performance. Despite playing a selection of hits, as well as providing no less than three encores, it seems as though tonight, the Eels don’t quite provide enough bang for one’s buck.