The Triumphant Return Of EELS To First Avenue


I cannot take credit for the title of this article. It comes from the own words of the night’s headliner, EELS. Their chosen words fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the nights show. EELS was in every way, triumphant. It hasn’t even been a year since EELS last visit to First Avenue. Having not seen this band perform before I was curious as to what magic was bringing back fans so soon. The answer came just minutes into the show. EELS is, without a doubt, a proper rock and roll show. With, as an added bonus, quite a few laughs derived from the witty front man Mark Oliver Everett.
The night began 8 o’clock sharp with openers Inspector Cluzo, a two-piece French Metal band made up by Laurent Lacrouts and Mathieu Jourdain. The two men dress sharp with full piece suits giving you the impression they may in fact, not be metal band. That is until they start playing. Seconds into their set the crowd of First Avenue was bobbing their heads and moving their feet. Like the White Stripes, the band is made up of a guitar player doing lead vocals and a drummer tackling backing vocals. Their near 40-minute set consisted of many politically charged metal songs most of which aimed at corporate farming. Their hatred towards farming conglomerates such as the many times mentioned Monsanto, come not only from a love for the Earth but also a love for their work off stage. One may not have guessed it, but these two French Metal-heads run an Organic Farm in southern France. A perfect way, in my opinion, to cool off after rocking out on stage. With six albums worth of material, this 11-year-old band made for the perfect opener to entertain and warm up the crowd.

With the crowed warmed up, headliner EELS took stage at 9 o’clock, a perfect time for them to start the night. Any later, and the crowd made up almost exclusively of middle-aged rockers might have fallen asleep behind the wheel on their way home. EELS took off running jamming out and dancing around the stage. The highlight of the night for me, came four songs in with the lead singer asking the crowd “are you ready to soft rock?” After not getting the response he hoped for, front man Everett, who goes by the stage name E, asked the question again until the whole room was shouting for the band to break out some soft rock. My giggles from this interaction quickly quitted as the band went into their hit song: “I Need Some Sleep” a slow jamming, melancholy lullaby capable of

creating deep reflection within any listener. Or, for movie lovers, that song from Shrek 2.
Like many rock bands, EELS have a great love for First Avenue. They were advertising their double LP recorded in the very venue. E jokingly told the crowd the 90’s band had played First Avenue over 300 times since 1969. This “accomplishment” in his mind should have earned them a star on the iconic outer wall of First Avenue amongst the greats who have played the venue. While it may not be truthful that they’ve played 300 times over the past 50 years, they certainly have made their mark on the venue. Which is why E happily exclaimed that by this time tomorrow a star with their name would be up there.

Their mark shows. The band seemed in every way, right at home. While this could simply be coming from the fact, they’re conditioned musicians who have played a great number of shows, I believe a big part of it comes from, like many other bands, a great love and appreciation for the iconic venue. Making the night a celebration of their return to this homely venue.

Celebrating gets harder the older you are. Only after a few songs in, E took a break and exclaimed “Wow, rocking is hard at this age.” The statement was met with many laughs by the crowd that could very much relate to the statement. EELS is in fact, what you would consider to be an old school Indie rock band. Since the year 1996, EELS have released 12 full length studio albums. Their setlist, consisted of songs spanning their entire discography giving the audience fun blasts from the past and jamming songs from their 2018 album: The Deconstruction.

If you like a straight up, no BS rock show, then EELS is the band for you. They satisfy in every way a rock and roll band is supposed to, as well as deliver many added laughs. It’s been less than a year since EELS was last in town and I do hope it is less than a year until they’re back again.


1 Comment

  1. “EELS took stage at 9 o’clock, a perfect time for them to start the night. Any later, and the crowd made up almost exclusively of middle-aged rockers might have fallen asleep behind the wheel on their way home”

    OK, you young whippersnapper, be it known that all us middle age rockers (hell, I’m nearly beyond middle age) not only don’t fall asleep on the way home. We’ve been out late for the past 40 years! The next morning may hurt a bit. But not enough to stop us.

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