Paul Weller, Usher Hall, Edinburgh - Reviews - Music - The Independent

Paul Weller, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

A touch of genius can get this survivor out of a jam

Whether he is indeed an untouchable genius, or an old indulgent lag attempting to rekindle teenage memories for his ageing fan base is up for debate. But last night, in the towering splendour of Edinburgh's Usher Hall, a venue guaranteed to lend a sense of grandeur to any event, his performance suggested he has both genius and indulgence flecked through his salt and pepper mop top.

His songs have become woven into the very fabric of British culture. His lyrics are part of the vocabulary of British pop. But to paraphrase the man himself, this is the bitter pill: without Weller there would have been no The La's, Blur or The Streets. But then again we might have never had to suffer the indignity of quite so many truly average Britpop records.

Even if he remains a distinctly British institution these days, his influence is contemporaneous as ever. Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand borrow heavily from Weller's aesthetic. Franz take the sharp style and refined edges while the less sophisticated Kaiser Chiefs harness the energy and vitriol of The Jam. Post-Jam and Style Council Weller enjoyed a trio of quality early solo flourishes - his debut as the Paul Weller Movement in 1992, 1993's Wildwood and 1995's Stanley Road - but he has been locked into a groove of good album, bad album for a decade. He also confessed recently that last year's woeful covers album Studio 150 was merely opportunity to take a break from songwriting and focus on playing, a break which, on evidence of his performance last night, has done him the world of good. While Weller acknowledges the past, he doesn't dwell and while he seems positively gleeful while they thrash through The Jam's "In The Crowd", he submits to only one other Jam song in the set, "That's Entertainment", which has rather overgrown men leaping like spring lambs.

Even in the substantial cache of solo hits he has amassed, he focuses heavily on tracks from his most recent long player, the robust and low-slung As Is Now.

Every time you begin to think he's testing everyone's patience with one extended coda or unfamiliar, if well-meaning noodle too many, he cuts back and delivers. Oddly enough, The Style Council's "Long Hot Summer" is among the freshest songs here and "Wildwood" remains one of his most spectral moments.

The Weller of 2005 is imminently more comfortable in his own skin than that awkward teen scowling his way through "Eton Rifles" in a Heinz ketchup apron on Top of the Pops but there's still fire in his belly at the most vital moments.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Arts and Entertainment
Queen Christina left the judges baffled with her audition
X Factor
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week