Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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The Eels are dead, long live The Eels! [EELS – 2.4.2013 – Paradiso Amsterdam]

t22

The band that I fell in love with all those years ago is dead.
Mr. E himself, Mark Oliver Everett, recently said in an interview that “If you look at a lot of bands that have the same members every time, they tend to make what sounds like the same album over and over again.” Before adding: “As for us, we’re too busy mixing it up amongst ourselves to feel the need to mix it up with different people.” That last bit, however, is unfortunately wrong.
After releasing 3 albums that sound pretty much the same and 2 tours being completely indistinguishable apart from the setlists, I think it’s safe to say the Eels that became my favorite band when I was in highschool is gone.

EELS in 2011, on the Tremendous Dynamite Tour:

EELS in 2013, on the Wonderful, Glorious Tour:

Unlike Kpop groups that ‘go wrong’ though, in this case I know that the Eels that I love is still in there under all the guitars and vocal filters. It’s still there and shines through every now and then when E wants it to, even during a ‘rock show’ like tonight.
And unlike those Kpop groups, this new Eels – the rock-y, filter-y, danceable Eels – is not so bad after all.
While I still hope the Eels will return to their past form, I’m okay with them staying like they are now for a little while. Their newer music is so energetic and enjoyable that it almost makes you forgive them for forgetting to include fan favorites like Beautiful Freak or Electro-Shock Blues in the setlist.

Because, in spite of this less than stellar setlist, the EELS still rocked the socks off of everyone in the audience, myself included. While it hurt me to see that a few fans didn’t even know songs like Dirty Girl or Fresh Feeling, those few classics made me smile from ear  to ear and made the whole experience that much more fun. Because, you know, the new songs aren’t bad at all, especially not for a rock show like this. Songs like New Alphabet, Tremendous Dynamite and Kinda Fuzzy heated up the room and the energetic way the band was playing rubbed off on the audience. It’s been so obvious since he’s started doing these rock shows that E has refound his love for performing and it just shined through in every aspect of the show. The whole crew beamed as they threw out one delicious song after another and E was obviously having fun talking to and interacting with the audience, cumulating in the ‘renewal of his Rock Vows’ with lead guitarist The Chet. They’d apparently been playing together for 10 years the night before and had done a sort of weirdo wedding ceremony, but “Oh no!” they forgot to do it ‘in the Dutch tradition’ because of course their American vows wouldn’t be legal here in Holland. So they brought in an accordion player and a traditional Dutch wishing tree (wtf?) and while Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings was playing they promised their eternal Rock to eachother in Dutch.
Yeah, that’s a far cry from the interviews where E was saying how he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to tour again a decade ago. And if E is happy, Eels fans are happy.

There was a lot more to be pleased about though, as the guitar work and drums were extremely tight and beautiful and E’s voice hasn’t lost any of its raspy, raw attraction that it used to have. Even though in my opinion his voice works best on slow, sad songs, it doesn’t sound out of place in a flurry of guitars and bassdrums either.

On a not-that-concert-related note; the band was throwing Mars bars into the audience periodically and I caught one with ninja reflexes. Fuck yeah. Also when I was drinking water from my CCCP canteen that looks like a booze bottle people were staring at me funnily.
Oh, and I happened to run in to Eels’ drummer on my way out but was too shocked to do or say anything aside from making a weird face :o

Before the main show there were two support bands though, and I feel like those (well, one of them at least) also deserves a special mention.
When the lights went out, a clown slowly appeared from the back of the room, making his way to the stage. Having been to the previous Eels concert in Paradiso, I expected to be ‘entertained’ by poor jokes played on members of the audience again, but luckily I was proven to be very wrong in my assessment. While turning away not to catch the clowns eye to avoid being called to the stage, a beautiful classic voice suddenly rang in my ears and yes, it was the clown singing. If I had closed my eyes I would’ve sworn it was fucking Frank Sinatra standing there, and I immediately became entranced by this guy’s amazing ability. Not only was his voice legendary, his songs were also really cool with his version of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On definitely taking the cake. It starts off slowly, and the quality is crap, but seriously check it out.


I was so impressed that I ran up to him later when he left the stage and asked if he was signing cd’s after the show, but unfortunately he’d already done it while the second support was playing so I totally missed out because I was listening to a ditzy nobody ‘singer songwriter’ with no talent…damn.

So all in all my last concert experience for the foreseeable future (being as unemployed as I am and having to save up money to move to Korea) was definitely one for the books; an amazingly surprising support, entertainment beyond expectation and a free Mars bar: this night was nothing if not a:

Verdict: 8/10

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This entry was posted on 4 April 2013 by in Music, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , .

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