"Days of speed", day one,"Put me on a boat to Coventry". Weller in Warwick arts centre...

Well, It's always a fine moment to take the road to England, I like everything in it... The road to Calais, the Boat, the white Dover's cliffs, and the way of driving! It's England, and as long as I'm up there, I'm in Weller and Splinterslands. Felt a bit alone without Jean Christophe and it's been strange to leave the twins for the first time but I was on my way for another Weller gig on Warwick ! Bournemouth, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Coventry, the man makes me travel! Doin it for the first time with a Nav Sat, it's been cool and easy, I've found Simon Cooper's home, the prince of Saint Andrews! With his usual kindness, he's driven me asap to Birmingham center and we went to Coventry! Wow! It couldn't start better after a quick check-in in Birmingham's center hotel, provided by Simon... again. Was a bit surprised, The Warwick center's not a big venue but it's a very beautiful one and we had some good times immediately. Sign of the gods, got the number 22 at the cloakroom!

The usual Weller people was there, Fred Perry Shirts, Mods haircuts, felt like home! Twisted Wheel opened the show and it's been a bit hard for them, the venue was not full and was waiting for Weller's gig outside the doors... Jonny Brown and the boys did the job very well in their rough and raw way! They'll be very big and interesting if they evolve as you can imagine. Jonny's songwriting is brilliant, a band to follow for sure... Saw them in Lille in January and they're better... Honest, we also waited for the man after a very delightful and warm meeting with fella' Kevin Aston who's been elegant and warm, very friendly! Nice bloke! Good to meet actual splinterites!

Then... The Man came on stage, very elegant, with the bespoke trousers Bax told us! He was brilliant and in a very good shape, the fire was there and I saw him, sometimes, less inspired on stage even if a Weller's gig is better, even an average one than many live performances! In Brussels, last year, he played a bit under his usual level, the commitment was not really there even if he blew up the Paradiso the day after! He was in the best Weller mood: he had new songs to play live and to defend on stage, his real home... He Started by a very good "Wake up the nation" and this will be the blue surprise of the day: new songs, new version of old songs and Jam Numbers... It was historical anyway, 11 th december, Last Jam's gig ever date.

Check Paul Weller news for Brilliant Scotty's photos.

Fast car / Slow traffic has been great too, really, completely in the new Weller's spirit or state of mind. Paolo Hewitt is right anyway, he always wants to move on, to go further on the musical landscape and he's right, even he can also fail... Strange town, in a way, reveals how Weller is brave to keep on playing solo when you're in a british crowd, singing along the song with a true passion (rage?) 27 years day to day after the last Jam's note on stage.

Weller could really play it easy, being the Jam's man for ever and he actullay is in a way but you can feel, from the third row we were his will and impatience to present us his new songs! The new version of "Dust and Rocks" is awesome with a fantastic voice and balance by Steve Pilgrim. Yes, I know, he's not Stevie White on drums but he's also on guitar, on vocals and he completes Paul's voice in a very brilliant way. It's been a very moving moment for me, a kind of Perfect Weller's moment. Pieces of a dream, a bit later, has been and will probably be the next LP highlight, a brilliant psychedelic rough and poetic swirling song. Magic. The band also plays "Mistress Brown". Didn't know the tune at all but Simon did. We don't know where it comes from, if it's another Weller golden B side of an unknown soul sixties 45 rpm. or another new one Very rythmic and catchy, played on acoustic guitars.Then The changingman riff sounds and Tonw called malice rounded off the night. No YDSTM and no Wildwood... ;)

Already wrote it but I'm still impressed by Weller's belief in music... Encyclopedic musical's culture, and his strong will to move on, to not release the kind of album I hate the most: it's new songs but you have the feeling to buy a best of because all the patterns are completely old and too many used... He could have play it safe and easy in Warwick (2092 maximum) but as usual he played two hours. That's one of my strongest admiration point for Weller, The ability he has to move on and to keep his live fire alive! We also have to note the Weller's band new member, probably the young Stevie Mac with a plastic guitar. Very funny. (Gentleman Mark took the little boy in his arms, almost cried...)

The real special things on this gig was the perfect setlist, the real balance between everything, you know when all the pieces of the Weller's puzzle fit in.

Another great Weller's night actually. Woke up at 4 AM english time, was a bit tired around 11 PM and gentleman Simon drove me back to the hotel and let me sleep...

To be continued... Days of speed 2, the adventures of a new Bluenose!


Ian S said...

Yann on the road ! Can't wait for the next part of the adventure.

gabby said...

great site. love your story, can't wait for the rest

cascatino said...

Yann, loved the story: you're my french Hemingway.

Your fire and your skill are shining bright under the english sky!