ROCK & JAZZ / At last, a style to call his own

ANYONE passing along the southern edge of Hyde Park this week may have noticed a smouldering ruin where the Albert Hall used to be. The culprit showed the Heritage Secretary not only a clean pair of heels but also an expensive pair of shoes. That man Paul Weller: he came and he rocked.

In the course of the evening, Weller shakes his head up and down in the throes of hard-ecstasy; he plays long guitar solos; he sits down at the piano with his back to the audience; he smiles a lot; in short, he does many things he was never expected to do, and does them brilliantly. Weller's clothes are still casual but smart - he is one of the few non-who can wear white trousers without embarrassment - but he is newly light of heart. After years of frantic searching he has hit upon a musical style to call his own.

The tough but tender mod psychedelia of his latest album Wild Wood (Go] Discs) is the best move he's made in years, and he knows it. Excepting covers (Traffic's 'Feelin' Alright', Neil Young's 'Ohio', and a jokey snatch of The Who's 'Magic Bus'), he plays nothing that wasn't written this decade - those who want to hear Jam songs can put the records on when they get home - but if ever a show had 'golden age of rock' written through it, this one does. It has been widely observed that Paul Weller has taken 15 years to make a musical journey that Steve Winwood (swapping the Spencer Davis Group for Traffic) made in one, but Winwood did not have so much baggage to carry. He was not the British Bob Dylan. He never shopped at Mister Byrite.

Weller's folksiness is a way of shrugging off a burden of expectation. With it comes a certain lyrical vagueness - goodbye Tube stations and street names, hello wild woods - but if this is the price to be paid to have him singing and playing the guitar as well as this, so be it. The music, in a serrated 'Sunflower' and a tumbling 'Holy Man', is crunchier than ever. Weller's well-balanced band - Yolanda Charles on bass, Steve Craddock on back-up guitar, Style Councillor Steve White on drums and Helen Turner on keyboards - are the perfect foil for his lusty machismo. They do their jobs efficiently and with some style; he struts about like a rooster with a feather-cut.

'Can I ask you something?' Pulp's Jarvis Cocker demands on first acquaintance with a packed but not over-attentive crowd at the Astoria II, 'Do you want something to happen tonight?' The response is muted. 'Because if you want something to happen,' Jarvis continues, dry as yesterday's madeira cake, 'we can make something happen.' Having spent more than a decade on the bottom of bills no one in their right mind would want to be on top of, this man is not about to waste his shot at the big time.

Whether wishing to allay the widespread disappointment that greets the flu-ridden non-appearance of fast-rising support act Elastica, or merely sensing the presence of arrivistes ripe for corruption, Jarvis is extraordinarily communicative between songs. He shares with us everything from the anti-climactic nature of his early sexual experiences to a recent trauma involving his Hillman Imp and a posse of joyriders. The new song that has emerged from this, appropriately entitled 'Joy Riders', is going to be one of his very best.

The band seem to have put on muscle; their wobbly keyboards and dentist's-drill noises are more together now, but Jarvis is the star. He dances as if under attack from an invisible assailant. His singing is laced with the anguished yelps of a man who has just swallowed ice cream that was too cold for him.

When legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders takes the stage for his third night at Dingwalls, some of the audience are still eating their dinner. This always seems disrespectful to me; if they're so hungry why don't they just go to Pizza Hut?

Mr Sanders is oblivious to such insolence. His imposingly stately attire - blue pill-box hat and sequinned halberd - is compounded by a striking resemblance to Jomo Kenyatta. The rest of his quartet are younger, but they start their set in the true spirit of free jazz, that other great black independence movement, echoing African decolonialisation. The amusing whoop and wobble of a selection of amplified toys gives way to a first number proper that reaches a peak of amazing intensity. As the rhythm builds and Sanders summons up blast after icy blast of melodious breath, his silver beard and moustache flutter until it seems his head is going to come off.

Things quickly mellow out. For all the forbidding reputation he forged with John Coltrane, Sanders is more of an all-round entertainer now. He sings - 'I've got the blues]' - dances, and graces both supper-and Acid Jazz standards with his pure and fluid tone. The mischief and holiness have not left him either. He wanders back from an early off-stage sortie with saxophone in one hand and beer bottle in the other, and proceeds - at some length - to play the bottle.

Weller: Ipswich Regent, 0473 28148, tonight. Sanders: Bristol Trinity Arts Centre, 0272 550659, tonight; Manchester Al's Music Cafe, 061-236 9971, tomorrow.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice