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Eel electrifies at the Roundhouse on a much-anticipated tour – REVIEW | music | entertainment

The Eels’ long-awaited Lockdown Hurricane tour has been postponed thrice and it was their first tour in 4 years to sound like the band at their jam-packed best. They are really making up for lost time with their UK dates including a sold out night at Camden Roundhouse, Glasgow’s Barrowlands and Manchester’s famous Albert Hall, after touring Europe and North America.

Reminiscent of the Blues Brothers, the band all wore dark sunglasses with cute tuxedos and in stark contrast to their moody image were playful and joking with the audience from the start.

The second song, The Amateur Hour with the raspy vocals “Baby, you’re an amateur gotta come home someday” sees the band get into their groove at a staccato neck tempo that sets a precedent for the night ahead.

Their cover of Small Faces greeted Watcha Gonna Do About It Do with a standing ovation, an almost wild “Woah yeah” Ian, with raw, irresistible energy.

A dry nod to Colin Firth in Good Night on Earth strikes a chord with the audience as silly grins are seen all around as he sings “Everybody’s a critic, I can’t stand Eeels.”

“So said Colin Firth / Rayne in my parade, and then the clouds clear / It’s a good night on earth”.

This is followed by a seemingly spontaneous blues jam, which talks about Apple Watches in an amused voice aside to the audience, lead singer Mark, saying, “We all have workout goals!”

I joked that they needed to go on stage tonight, which made the crowd howl.

All six songs we just played had never before been played live – except for last night” in his distinctive tone of voice.

Suddenly an image flashes on the screen between songs with the words flashing in bold “Workout goal achieved” as Mark quips “Look how much practice you put in on that Joe – Joe does one way too much workout!” to Joe the flamboyant guitarist, with whom he often trades banter throughout the set.

In a witty response to the Apple Watch joke, Mark suddenly exclaims “How many steps so far—just another 19,000 and you’re there! Which soon flowed through as a grim jerk. It’s okay, my guitar check had a stroke!” And off the wall thought, “Do you smell toast?”

Then, he tells the newbie: “I just want to tell you this isn’t scripted because we’re playing live” and jokingly complains about his vocal tech Sarah as he struggles to tune in: “Here you go princess – 30 years doing this and this is what you got!”

The brilliantly colored imagery in the lyrics “I’m not that pretty for a dog-faced boy” captures Mark’s comedic imagination as a drum solo explodes into an effortless oddity from Joe.

Mark says of his band “Little Joe’s here as Daddy Rock! Big Al on the Bass – in the great tradition of Grandpa Rick! 20 years from me and Conversation – 20 years!”

At the first appearance, they leave the stage, with Mark saying “We didn’t see that coming, you’re so cute”, pretending to be the audience, adding “We haven’t played this since 1968”.

After leaving the stage again with a temporary pause and returning with a very funky second encore, Mark goes under a frenzy about going like a little kid, capping off a energetic and wonderfully fun night of blues and a bit of stand-up comedy from the Eels.

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