Paul Weller at The Royal Hospital Kilmainham – Review & Photos
There had been talk that tickets weren’t selling too well for this gig and with the crowd looking worryingly sparse during support act Tom Odell’s set, it seemed that the iconic former frontman of The Jam and The Style Council would be playing to a half full at best crowd in Kilmainham. Fortunately by the time Weller arrived on stage, looking trim and considerably younger than his 56 years, the crowd had grown substantially with the huge variation in age of those in attendance reflecting his appeal and longevity.
Those latecomers missed a decent set from Odell. Perched jerkily at a piano for most of his set and flanked by a decent if unspectacular backing band, Odell’s raspy, soulful voice is most impressive. The fact that most of the crowd chose to sit down on the grass may have prompted Odell’s remark that there were “only four people enjoying it,” but in truth most of the crowd seemed to enjoy his set without getting too swept away. ‘Another Love’ in particular was warmly received.
Weller has never been one to dwell on former glories and his set was filled with some of his more recent work. While this did cause a bit of a lull mid-set, he still managed to throw in enough crowd-pleasers, spanning his time in his former bands as well as his earlier solo work to keep the crowd happy. ‘From The Floorboards Up’ and ‘Wake Up The Nation’ were early highlights, while ‘Fast Car Slow Traffic’ featured some excellent guitar work from long time partner-in-crime Steve Craddock, who was looking very smart in his grey suit in contrast to Weller’s more casual attire.
Unfortunately a slightly plodding ‘Sea Spray’ heralded that mid-set lull as people began to drift to the bar and the renowned Weller spikiness reared his head when introducing a song from ‘Sonik Kicks’, an album that Weller sarkily remarks is obviously “not that popular in Ireland,” when it doesn’t get the reaction that he feels it deserves.
In spite of this hiccup, ‘Dragonfly’ picks proceedings up somewhat before the gloriously simple riff of ‘Peacock Suit’ really lifts the crowd from its funk. Weller seemed to be enjoying himself again at this stage, throwing some Townshend-esque shapes on his guitar before closing out the main set with The Jam’s ‘Start!’ which went down a storm.
Not that this was the end of things by a long shot. The crowd were treated to a whopping three encores that included a rousing version of ‘Changing Man’ before those headed for the exits were drawn back for the final song, a joyous rendition of ‘Town Called Malice’ with Weller banging a tambourine and looking happier than he had been earlier on in the night.
While not a perfect gig by any manner of means, Weller’s voice is still in great nick and the band he has playing with him are a solid unit. Perhaps we should all become more familiar with ‘Sonik Kicks’ to keep him happy when he visits us the next time.
Review by Mark O’Brien
Photos by Tudor Marian