I know I've talked about this 100 times now. And some of you have made comments that you plan to, or have tried them out. And even if you have or have not, I'm here to tell you once again - the Eels are amazing.
On Saturday, they put on a show at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I won't get immediately into my concert review, I'll start from the beginning.
The seating was general admission, so we got there about an hour early. We sat down with a couple drinks and surprising got to sit super close. We even sat behind a railing for extra leg room. About 8pm the lights went out, and we knew a young lady named Jesca Hoop was opening, so that's what we were expecting. Instead - an older guy was standing on stage and asked how everyone was doing. I assumed it was some Pabst manager or something, do I didn't think much of it. Well, long story short B Siders, the guy pulls out a dummy and begins his vantriliquism act. I'll spare you the details, but the act was brutal. I'd have rather sat through 2 hours of Ke$ha playing 'Tik Tok' on loop than the 10 mins I sat through this fella. Yeah...that bad.
Finally the music kicked in, and Hoop came on stage. I'm going to try to remain even keeled in this review, and try not to go too overboard - but she was outstanding. It was almost like she was doing a smaller version of Storytellers on VH1. She had nice little stories to go along with her music, including letting the crowd know about her cancer stricken mother and helping her cope with the pain. If you listened closely to her music, you could identify that her mother passed and she devoted a song to her memory. Her vocals were in a word, mezmerizing. She had such a great voice and could play her very unique guitar very well. To show you how much I enjoyed this performance, I never buy anything from a show. Never a t shirt, poster or whatever. I bought her cd. She only played five songs, but I felt like we had some sort of connection. I was so impressed. When I get through the album, I'll review it very soon.
On to the main show. The Eels. The band I've been preaching for nearly two decades is the most underappreciated band around. The best band you're not listening to. I've set myself up for quite a let down right? Not a chance. E came out and did 3 solo tracks. All of which were Eels songs, but ones he could do with just him and a guitar. All great. He called out The Chet, which is a guitarist who plays the standard axe as well as a mechanical one similar to Robert Randolph. Those did did a couple more tracks together, then the rest of the band came out. Kool G Murder on bass, P Boo on guitar and then Knuckles on drums. They proceeded to play non-stop, and I mean it, non-stop for another hour and a half. Most artists take mini breaks here and there, you know, get water or what have you. Eels kept on one after another the whole time. I couldn't keep track, but they must have gone through nearly 30 tracks. Amazing. Some tracks I could sing along with, and some even myself weren't super familiar with. Bottom line, they were still awesome. Everyone was up and grooving and hootin' and hollerin'. They played a song most people are familiar with: 'My Beloved Monster' which is off the Beautiful Freak record, but also from the Shrek Soundtracks. They didn't play it like normal though, they sped it up and made it into something totally different. Same kind of mash up with 'I Like Birds' and then 'Mr. E's Beautiful Blues'.
The older lady sitting next to me hadn't heard of the Eels until just this month. She had only heard the newer stuff, but she had an awesome time. She was probably up and screaming more than anyone in the venue. That could be you!! Now, their music certainly isn't for everyone...I'm a realist. But at the same token, I think a lot of you would love them...and then have a blast at the shows. They put on such a unique performance - at one point even tossing out popsicles out to the crowd while covering 'Summer In The City'. If they ever came back to the great state of Wisconsin, I will be there. My concert friend who came along felt the same. Do yourself a favor, pick up 'Beautiful Freak' today. Run through that and listen to 'Hombre Lobo' too. Next time they're in town, come along with me. You'll have a great time.