Paul Weller returned to Vancouver in support of his latest record, A Kind Revolution, yesterday evening (October 16), delivering an eclectic set that catered to the many evolutions of his lengthy career. Weller and his five-piece band travelled back and forth through his extensive catalogue, touching on his time as a member of the Jam and the Style Council while putting the emphasis on his most recent solo albums.
Weller and company kicked off the night with rocking numbers, invigorating the older crowd that consisted of numerous fans from the UK (there were exclamations along the lines of, "I last saw Weller play with the Jam in '82!"). "From the Floorboards Up" was lively, chockfull of riffs and swagger, which Weller has certainly mastered this far into his career. However, it was turns to his more soulful side that delighted the crowd, who welcomed Style Council classics "My Ever Changing Moods" and "Have You Ever Had it Blue." Later on in the set, "Shout to the Top" — complemented by the Commodore's spinning disco ball—spurred dancing, the song eliciting visible joy from the crowd.
The band were tight, their versatility and knack for sweet vocal harmonies during the acoustic section of the concert providing perfect support to the frontman. Weller's blue-eyed soul vocals have held up, as has his comfortable, intuitive playing of the piano and guitar.
Weller remained forward-thinking with his setlist, performing the gentle, acoustic, "What Would He Say?" which he explained should be released on a new album arriving next year. Recent cuts, such as the languid, guitar-based "These City Streets," from Saturns Pattern, proved soothing, while fans were clearly excited to hear the melancholic, acoustic-led "Up in Suzes' Room."
Groove-based tracks, like "She Moves with the Fayre," are one of Weller's strengths, and allowed for the band and his voice to play around with their respective arrangements live. Loose, jazzy solos held concertgoers' attention, even if the self-indulgent rock soloing didn't. That being said, in a set of marathon length, this is only to be expected.
After giving an impressive and varied performance, Weller thanked the crowd yet again, and then departed. Several decades into his career, the Modfather doesn't show any signs of letting up, something those in the audience last night seemed thankful for.