Paul Weller at Converse Represent, 100 Club, London review
'As punchy and riotous as ever'
Chris Swindells - 04 August 2012
Earmarked for closure in 2010, the 100 Club on Oxford Street is a surviving monument to the spectacle of live music that
has seen nearly seventy decades of action. The walls contest to that much, with the likes of The Rolling Stones
and the Sex Pistols immortalized in print and hanging in grace. The saviours of such a landmark came last
year in the unlikely form of Converse, who stamped security on the venue's future and hosted their first ‘campaign’
of shows during this, the Olympic fortnight.
2:54 have the unenviable task of following in the shadows of Warpaint in their quest for female fronted shoe-gaze glory. Comparisons to the aforementioned LA rock troupe might seem a little lazy to some, but perhaps they wouldn't get compared as much if you could stamp a distinguishable note on this mid-paced four piece. Plodding bass and a post-rock glaze hardly grips the slowly building crowd, even with their stand out single ‘Revolving’.
After that mid-paced set, it was going to take a spark of energy to reignite the night. Japandroids provide just that, doing everything they can to dazzle and confuse. The latest to join the proud lineage of hard rocking musical duos, from Lightning Bolt to Death From Above 1979, Blood Red Shoes to er...Simon & Garfunkel, the power and intensity this young Canadian pairing create lights up the 100 Club. 'Younger Us' and 'House That Heaven Built' are highlights of a set that would have most mod-rockers stroking their well ruffled side-burns. Wrapping up with their cover of The Gun Club's 'For The Love Of Ivy', it’s a tour-de-force.
Twenty-two years is nothing to many of the elders who have followed Weller. For Jason Pierce, it's been an career of meteoric highs, difficult lows and much wasted time inbetween. Like tonight's headliner, Spiritualized have a history to preserve and relevance to maintain. A difficult tightrope at the best of times. Frontman Pierce is soon finding his flow, singing, “sweet heart, sweet light, you're the love of my life", a lament from his seventh record, and befitting its warm and joyous overtones.
'Walking with Jesus' is like taking a stroll on home on DMT and diving straight into bed. Conversely 'Mary'
is a straight, conventional rock affair, minus the noise and distractions. Reverting back to his previous incarnation in Spaceman
3, 'Take Me To The Other Side' has a chugging rock and guitar jerking reprise that leaves the club stunned
and still in front of a wall of noise, reverb and little else.
The Modfather's played surrogate dad to many and much through the years - Punk, new wave and the mod revival with The Jam, and whatever label The Style Council could own. Now, a wizened solo artist at 54, Paul Weller is battling to stay on top of his own game.
Pounding out the opener 'From The Floorboards Up', the pace is furious from the starting blocks and it hardly
relents over the hour-long set. 'Wake Up The Nation' is necessary to whip this 350 capacity room into shape, before
the fashion icon and scene forefather can serenade the venue: "It's nice to be back here at the 100 Club, many memories."
That’s all you’re getting in the way of sentimentality, but he’s certainly got time to get nostalgic. 'Start!' the first trip back down the Jammy lane of yesteryear, as punchy and riotous as ever. 'Dragonfly' is a highlight from his latest solo record 'Sonik Kicks' and although slower in pace it’s no less arresting.
'In The City' is another rare return to Weller's former band and catalogue, then 'Broken Stones', 'Into Tomorrow' and 'Changingman' complete a storming trio of tracks that make his sprint finish as unforgettable as ever.
Curating a line-up deserving of such an historic and important musical venue isn’t always an easy task. The taskmasters tonight have found an eclectic range that doesn’t quite fit in one bill. But, the overall quality of display is, like all of the Converse Represent events, of the highest order. Let's hope we're back at the 100 Club in ten years saying the same.