Wondering if I had perhaps walked in to Goldie Lookin Chain's take on The Beatles, whilst exercising an admiration for Men In Black, the return of Eels to Glasgow was both wonderful and glorious last night.
Their creator and on stage mentor, the ever exuberant and charismatic, Mark Oliver Everett, or 'E' as he codes by, led the five buoyant fellows on stage, who had by their second song convinced me that identical three-stripe tracksuits and shades were actually a good look and very practical too (when practical comes into your vocabulary you realise the ageing process is getting serious).
Their boisterous attack from their new album, Wonderful, Glorious, faded to their less assertive, yet sunnier sound where That Look You Give That Guy basked in light drums which barely invaded their vocal harmonies and intertwined quadrilogy of guitars. Backed by newer On The Ropes, their sound continued to flourish at its most ornate, the split personalities which exist in the vast output of the band all accounted for in their set last night, and held together as siblings by the running theme of Everett's deep and knowing vocal.
Simian dance moves and the sports wear looked very briefly like an Ian Brown tribute as the show thrust into a bigger bound, leaving bearded men elbowing their way to the front, pint preciously cradled in hand. The prowl of New Alphabet had attitude in excess amongst the tight snap of hi-hats and howling guitar, where only here, halfway through the show, I noticed the basic stage set-up of the band, against a white backdrop, with a few lights and a couple of small risers. They needed nothing else though.
Tossing back and forth from over-driven guitar to sun-kissed melodies, their set took a breather for Everett to introduce the band, and even say some vows to his guitarist Chet – 'Is it hot in here or is that Chet's career?' – after announcing they had been 'rocking the world' together for ten years. An impromptu and powerfully sung Wind Beneath My Wings from the drum riser granted a few bratty rock 'n' roll choruses about Knuckles himself, before the madness tumbled into a Small Faces cover for Itchycoo Park.
Maintaining an upbeat and jovial delivery throughout, the band had a real sense of enjoying their performance, regardless of how true this may have been, which was magnified in the crowd response. The gnarly Souljacker, Part I and its Deep South leanings had air guitar out in force, soon followed by the jarring strobes of Fresh Blood, where a build into a blistering wash of instruments punctuated by staggering drums, showed them at their most psychedelic.
Following the same rigmarole of recent shows, their two encores – plus a third once the lights had gone up and the venue partially emptied – thrilled fans as Eels rounded off an enthusiastic show that was a perfect summation of their impressively creative career.