Paul Weller

Riot Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 6

Paul WellerRiot Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 6
Photo: Stephen McGill
5
Mud-soaked festival-goers took a break from the mosh pits and crowdsurfing when Paul Weller took over the Riot Stage for his early evening set. The Modfather and his band looked dapper as they plowed through a career-spanning setlist, which makes sense given the recent release of his second greatest hits collection, More Modern Classics. Opening with "Wake Up the Nation" from the 2010 album of the same name, then moving on to other singles like "From the Floorboards Up" and "Fast Car/Slow Traffic," Weller hit every musical mark but failed to make any real connection with the crowd, who remained on their best behaviour throughout the British icon's performance.

Older numbers like "Friday Street," and especially the Jam's "Start!" garnered appreciation, but when the forty-minute gig wrapped after "Whirlpool's End," there was a feeling of unfinished business lingering (although it's entirely possible that this reviewer just wanted him to close with "Town Called Malice," as he did back in 2008 when V Fest was still a thing). It's clear that Weller and co. are a very well-oiled machine when it comes to live music, there just didn't seem to be much heart injected into the delivery.

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