Eels at Granada Theater: Review

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Gavin Cleaver
E wants to share his tracksuit with you.
Eels offered up a set delivered in matching tracksuits at the Granada last night in celebration of their new album Wonderful, Glorious. And it was a celebration, as a clearly contented and happy band offered up new tracks and re-imaginings of old. I've seen Eels a few times now, and I'm constantly amazed with how they manage to revisit old tracks in completely different styles, with completely different personnel. This isn't some heritage band, living off a hit, touring the same tracks played in the same style. I must have seen them play "Sound of Fear" from Daisies of the Galaxy five times on five tours now, and every time they've played it in a different arrangement.

Last night Eels was stripped of keyboards, something that's difficult to imagine on hearing their synth-heavy earlier albums, but fits in with the guitar rock of the new work. Every time they tour, older tracks are re-done to fit in with the style of the latest album, and while it's perhaps necessary to give the set a more cohesive feel, given the difference between Eels albums, it's still interesting to hear re-interpretations.

Last night there was what I believe those kids they have today, you know, the hip ones, would term a "mash-up" between old favorites "My Beloved Monster" and "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues", which served to illustrate this perfectly, as expectations were dashed by constantly interchanging verses and choruses. While to some it might serve to show how similar Eels songs are, to me it shows how E always wants to change it up, never content to sit in the same place for too long.

That isn't even to touch on the humor and fun in this show - there was a fake wedding between E and his guitar player, The Chet, who has been in Eels for ten years now, officiated by a roadie. While E and Chet hugged, the drummer (Knuckles, apparently) sang "Wind Beneath My Wings". The backing band, apparently named P-Boo, Reverend Al, The Chet, and Knuckles, were low-key, and in fact given their near identical short hair and stubbly beards, all reminded me of the two detectives in the rural police department that won't accept Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz. Like, all the time. They may as well have just hired those guys.

After bashing through new and old (there were also re-workings of "Climbing to the Moon" and "Trouble With Dreams"), the house lights came up, and people started filing out, only to ram back in for an absolutely killer lights-up encore of "Dog Faced Boy". Eels sent the people home happy. Eels seem pretty happy themselves. Long may they continue.

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