I saw Paul Weller perform at a gig announced only a few days before the event. It was part of the Great Escape, a long weekend of gigs in Brighton, in every available venue. Brighton was already buzzing with the Festival, the Fringe and Open houses, and added to this cultural epicentre was an array of musicians, filling the streets with gig equipment and musical instruments. The event was put on by Amazon Front Row Live.
I was only told where gig would take place on the morning of the event. The marketing campaign successfully created a furore and the ‘secret’ gig announcement was covered in the local newspapers. The venue was the Old Market theatre, which swiftly filled at 14:00 for a 14:30 start with fans old and young – presumably new as well as those that have followed the career of the outspoken singer through bands, musical trends and 10 solo albums.
It was a short set, but it was seamless and Weller did well to bring out his forthright character to what was a highly orchestrated event. He played songs from his new album ‘Saturn’s Pattern’ (released on 18th May), including the title track which went down well as a tuneful pop track. I particularly enjoyed Above the Clouds and I’m where I should be. I was humming Changing Man all the way to the venue so it was brilliant when this was performed along with another back catalogue classic Peacock Suit, from the 1997 album ‘Heavy Soul’. I sang my heart out to that one, cider in the air. The lyrics to Weller’s Changing Man are; “what I can’t be today, I can be tomorrow,” and it feels like an ethos that rings true for this artist, and I think that’s the attitude I buy into.
The performance will be available to watch on Amazon Prime Instant Video. A film of the special performance is to be made available exclusively to watch on Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Paul Weller returns to Brighton on November 20, when he will play the Brighton Centre.
By Lou Clement