Review & Photos: Paul Weller, Scarborough OAT, 7 July

A REGULAR visitor to York, Paul Weller ventured a little further east last Sunday to play the first show of his career at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre.

The Modfather didn't disappoint delivering a career encompassing set of solo, Jam and Style Council material.

Weller recently released his 17th studio album entitled 66. It is an often contemplative but always interesting release proving that Weller is not prepared to rest on his laurels.

Famously stylish, Weller sported blue jeans and a denim jacket over a white T-shirt in a casual look that few 66 years olds can carry off successfully.

Weller has never been about turning up and going through the motions of performing the many hit songs of the Jam and the Style Council. Classic tunes from his former bands are included of course but they are strictly rationed and scattered throughout the set shining like diamonds.

Paul Weller at Scarborough OAT, July 7. Photo by Dave LawrencePaul Weller at Scarborough OAT, July 7. Photo by Dave Lawrence

The rain that marred the Stone Foundation’s opening set had cleared by the time Weller and his band took the stage in business like fashion at 8.30pm hitting their stride immediately with Nova followed by Cosmic Fringes from 2021’s Fat Pop album.

Weller swapped to acoustic guitar for Soul Wandering, the first number performed from the latest album which also contributed Flying Fish, Nothing, Rise Up Singing and the punchy Jumble Queen which Weller co-wrote with Noel Gallagher.

Breezing through the set often at warp speed and alternating between guitar and keyboards, Weller on several occasions mentioned they had a lot of songs to get through. Consequently, there was little chat between numbers although he did dedicate My Ever Changing Moods to those affected by the conflict in Gaza, and his keyboards were also draped in a Palestinian flag.

The band included the excellent Steve Cradock from Ocean Colour Scene on guitar who praised the venue when introducing Hung Up, a brace of drummers and Jacko Peake whose saxophone and flute playing added colour to many numbers.

Highlights included Out of the Sinking, Shout to the Top, Headstart for Happiness and Stanley Road, but the crowd unsurprisingly responded most enthusiastically when, late in the set, Weller temporarily relieved the itch for some Jam material.

Introducing That’s Entertainment - which, incredibly, never made the top 20 chart back in the day - he said the song “has about a hundred verses but we’ll only do a few of them but if you know the words please sing along as I often forget them.” He then proceeded to follow up with super tight version of Start!

Peacock Suit and an extended Into Tomorrow closed the main set before a generous encore that included The Changingman, Wild Wood, You Do Something To Me and a climactic A Town Called Malice brought the near two-hour performance to a close.

Weller remains a mercurial artist, still releasing intriguing and satisfying albums and performing invigorating live sets - like this one - that defy the years.