With his trilogy of albums completed, it would have made sense for Mark Oliver ‘E’ Everett to fill tonight’s set with tracks solely from those albums, as a summary of the journey through desire, loss and hope that the records represent. Instead, him and his hirsute helpers blast out a mammoth set replete with covers, re-makes and, yes, hits.
Opening the set on his own with a couple of quieter, more despairing songs, which showcase his visceral, one-in-a-million vocals (‘End Times’, ‘3 Speed’), E then calls upon his trusty band to rock the cider cups out of people’s hands with punky renditions of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Summer in the City’, a Ramones-esque run through of ‘I Like Birds’, the gnarly, lupine grunge-folk of ‘Dog Faced Boy’ and a surprisingly funky cover of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’. E, dressed in an all-white jumpsuit, trademark sunglasses and a bandana, looks like an urban terrorist but exuded a frivolity that’s almost blasphemous considering his often outright bleak material, but it makes for a versatile, engaging spectacle. One of many highlights is one of his most well-known songs ‘Mr E’s Beautiful Blues’, mashed up with the riffs of ‘Twist and Shout’ – a cheeky move, but like almost everything he does tonight, it works.
By Matthias Scherer
Originally published in issue 21 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2010