Review by Steven Stock with Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
There was much to admire about Paul Weller’s passionate performance at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park Sunday night, starting with the 57-year old rocker’s refusal to trade in nostalgia. The first fifteen years of his career with the Jam and the Style Council weren’t even acknowledged in a set largely derived from Weller’s superb new record Saturns Pattern. The show had a nice flow, with churning rockers like opener “White Sky” and the propulsive “From the Floorboards Up” interspersed with lovely ballads like “You Do Something to Me” and the virtual vaudeville of “Brand New Toy.”
Guitarist Steve Cradock used his Gibson to play stinging, pungent solos throughout the 100-minute set. Songs such as “7&3 is the Striker’s Name” and “Peacock Suit” displayed Weller’s facility for writing insidiously catchy little guitar riffs — earworms, if you will. Weller contributed additional guitar or keyboards to each song, enabling the six-piece band to generate an impressive (if not quite Spectorian) wall of sound.
While the Jam’s catalog wasn’t tapped, Weller did revisit select highlights from his subsequent solo career, reaching as far back as 1992’s eponymous Paul Weller and touching on Stanley Road, Heavy Soul, As Is Now, Wake up the Nation and Sonik Kicks. Weller’s not been one to repeat himself, but these records share a certain allegiance to classic rock values – as you might expect from someone who’s named three of his seven kids Bowie, Dylan and John Paul (we’re still waiting for George Ringo).