Paul Weller injects some spritely mod energy into the back end of an excitable weekend at Liverpool’s Mountford Hall where Getintothis’ Vicky Pea thinks she might have finally got it.
The Modfather. A moniker that propelled a young lad from Surrey to a global icon.
Just last week we were jaunting around New York where, once he found out we were from Liverpool, a delightful pizzeria owner declared “I know he’s not from Liverpool but I love that Paul Weller”. Who doesn’t? And it’s hardly surprising he made the jump from Liverpool to Weller seeing as we’ve just waved goodbye to the incredible About The Young Idea exhibit and have long enjoyed a special admiration for The Jam‘s main man.
Tonight Mountford Hall is the setting for Weller’s latest Liverpool show, it’s always less of a gig and more of an occasion when he does come to town and although one of the bigger venues he’s played during his recent visits the Hall does well to retain the palpable excitement within its walls.
With the release of his latest album A Kind Of Revolution just under a month away (the first since 2015’s favourable Saturns Pattern) and a full arena tour already announced for 2018 it could well have been a night that fell between the cracks.
It’s a rare occurrence to arrive punctually to a show at 7.30pm and be one of the last to turn up, Mountford Hall already brimming as we arrive and in some ways the makeup of the audience is the most interesting aspect of the night. To say it was diverse would be lie (there were only four different hairstyles in attendance after all), and it was hands down one of the chattiest gigs we’ve ever been to, but no one particularly seemed to mind.
Amid the relentless conversations Weller put on a faultless performance. With a setlist that probably left some casual fans a tad disappointed the man and his ensemble showed off the musicality that is too often passed by when his name crops up and reminded up of his ballad prowess in particular. The slow sway side to side became the most utilised move of the evening as Weller shows no fear in presenting multiple faucets of his creativity, often abandoning foot stomping up-tempo favourites for slower and more considered numbers.
A noticeable mention should be made to his band who shone in all the right ways and seem to bring the best out of the man centre stage. 58 but boy you wouldn’t know it. Weller projected a genuine enjoyment for being on stage – one which he covered with plenty of energy to spare.
3 encores later we came away feeling educated. Previous live shows and a lifetime of mainstream perceptions had left us somewhat blind to the musician behind the Modfather, tonight put an end to that. Weller’s music hasn’t grown old with him, much of what was performed tonight cried out for more unfamiliar and dare we say younger audience. For the first time we wonder if maybe the legend is doing a disservice to him and keeping a new generation of fans from discovering something more than Going Underground. Because he has so much more to offer.
As a mid (fine, late) 20’s attendee it’s safe to say Mod culture, as fascinating as we’ve always found it, passed us by long before we’d ever had the chance to get involved and as such a portion of it will always remain lost in translation and time, but the more we see Weller and his adoring disciples the more we start to get it. Not the heavy details and nuances, we could never pretend to understand what that time in space was like, but the reason for his longevity and iconic status becomes clearer. It’s not because he’s a Mod. It’s because he’s a truly fine musician and even better performer and you don’t need to be in your 50’s to appreciate that.
Photos by Getintothis’ Vicky Pea