Paul Weller’s Mid-Sömmer Musik 12th Nov 2020

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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‘Where words fail, music speaks’ - Hans Christian Andersen – Writer.

Hans Christian Andersen, the world-famous author penned many classic stories, like The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Snow Queen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and many more. A collection of fairy, fantasy, folklore, and cautionary tales, that have enthralled and inspired many generations across the world. Furthermore, Andersen’s work has influenced many creative people, from Walt Disney to Steve Marriott of The Small Faces, who was clearly influenced by The Steadfast Tin Soldier, when he penned the lyrics to Tin Soldier.

Hans Christian Andersen may or may not be a direct influence on Paul Weller who, in the past has cited authors like Jack London, George Orwell, Colin MacInnes, and the poet Shelley as key figures of inspiration. Yet, like Andersen, Paul Weller can open the mind and touch the heart with his lyrics and music whilst Andersen did this with words.

Paul Weller’s Number One summer album of this year, On Sunset, is certainly an epic mature record with an orchestral and soulful vibe, that goes hand in hand with the sun, open fields, and woods with a yearning for adventure, just like the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. Both can take you to a magical place with their art, yet still remind you of who you are, escapism with a sense of reality.

Furthermore, the live set for On Sunset would have been spectacular and enriching but unfortunately, for obvious reasons, that won’t happen this year. Therefore, Paul Weller and the band, unable to tour, have compensated by combining music, behind the scenes footage, and interviews with Paul in a VOD stream…. Mid-Sömmer Musik.

Mid-Sömmer Musik was filmed at Paul Weller’s studio Black Barn, Surrey, giving him and the band, Steve Cradock (guitar), Andy Crofts (bass), Steve Pilgrim (drums) Ben Gordelier (percussion), Tom Heel, (keyboards), and special guest Jacko Peake (saxophone, flute - Jacko worked with Paul Weller in the early 90s) a chance to play and perform again or, as Paul puts it ‘We’re like kids again when you’re back on your toys making a noise.’

Mid-Sömmer Musik opens with a brief shot of a shirtless Paul and some of the band, plus a tech in the yard of the studio in the summer of this year, swapping jokes and anecdotes. Then an intro interview with Paul, who expresses his joy, with a degree of sadness, that he can be creative and interact with fellow artists and friends, yet restricted due to the lockdown.

Afterward, Mid-Sömmer Musik has its first number to be performed at Black Barn Studio, the title track from On Sunset. Paul and the band are on song, they are slick, tight, and expressive on their selected instruments. You can see their delight, and sense their relief, as they are pursuing their creativity, and us the viewers, share their earthly pleasures. What follows the opening number is a hypnotic and powerful performance of songs, from the album On Sunset, a few tracks from the album True Meanings (2018) plus four new tracks.

The order of songs is as follows, the uplifting and heart-warming Old Father Tyme from On Sunset, which has the lyric, ‘In times of confusion, hang on to what is real’, so relevant for today. A new song, Moving Canvas, a stomping number with attitude, great to see Paul on a Gibson SG, a powerhouse of a guitar. Failed, which is a bonus track from the Japanese edition of On Sunset which, to me, is a nod to the classic 7-inch power-pop single of yesteryear. Then Village, from On Sunset, a beautiful song about hope with a sense of belonging, the perfect tonic to a cold winter’s night in the UK in November.

The mood becomes sombre yet jovial, as the next recital of songs is Gravity and Aspects, from True Meanings. The band sits in a circle, facing each other, as Paul jokes like it is a self-help group meeting, before launching into the arpeggio chord intro of Gravity. As the band plays a two-song acoustic set from the heart, the studio fills with smoke, as some of the band members are having a crafty cigarette. Being an ex-smoker, 40 a day, it would be wrong for me to comment!

Next, Andy Crofts opens with the dub style bass line, and the rest of the band jump into the elevating More from On Sunset, Cradock’s Wah Wah guitar playing is memorising as is the magical flute sound from Jacko, yet all the band smashed it, as they have done throughout this gem of a VOD. Things are livening up, as Paul and the band perform a new song, Testify, a defiant and expressive song, classic Weller, anger with energy and beauty. Afterward, a new song, Still Glides the Stream is played, a grand ballad with Paul singing and playing the piano. Mid-Sömmer Musik closes with the sensitive sound of Rockets from On Sunset and the happy groove of Mayfly from True Meanings.

The interviews with Paul are insightful and honest as always, as new and old fans know he is a wonderful conversationalist with a strong and interesting speaking voice. Moreover, the footage of Paul and the band in conversation in the studio, and the yard, shows the genuine camaraderie between them.

As Paul and the band are playing in the studio, we get a glimpse of the equipment, rock & roll memorabilia, like the David Bailey photo of Lennon and McCartney, and a Chelsea FC flag, hanging with pride in the control room. I am sure my Chelsea supporting friends will relish this, yet me, being a Juventus fan, wasn’t really swayed!

Generally, Mid-Sömmer Musik is a buoyant music program, that speaks loudly with love and inspiration, with well-crafted songs performed with grace and debonair from much-seasoned musicians.

In addition, with live music and the arts in general under threat, we need this glimmer of light in this unnerving darkness, yet I am a firm believer we will return to the old normal. However, our voices of concern and consideration are not always heard, so until then, ‘Where words fail, music speaks’………





Read 429 times Last modified on Thursday, 19 November 2020 09:06
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

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