Members Of The Band:
E -- Mark Oliver Everett (Vocals, Guitar, Piano)
The Chet -- Jeff Lyster (Guitar, Vocals)
P-Boo -- Mike Sawitzke (Trumpet, Guitar)
Knuckles -- Derek Brown (Drums, Percussion, Xlophone, Tubular Bells)
Kool G Murder -- Kelly Logsdon (Bass)
You know, when you’ve been attending concerts as long as I have there is a tendency to become a little bit jaded; “I know what I like and I like what I know” kind of mindset. For me, that is like the kiss of death for concert attendance. While a surprising number of the bands I grew up with are still plying their trade on stage there will come a time when father time finally catches up with them.
What then? I mean, do I just stop attending concerts when all of the music idols of my youth are dead and gone? Or have, at the very least, given up on performing live? Perish the thought. For the first time in a number of years I was introduced to a new band, the Eels, by a new friend. Their music was eclectic, alternative rock with a light dash of pop sensibility, with deep, meaningful and frequently dark lyrics and an underlying sense of self. Eels have been around since 1995 and was formed by multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett, better known as “E”.
His family history was tragic in the truest sense of the word, with a renowned and brilliant physicist father who basically died when his life’s work was scoffed at by others in the world of quantum physics. A 19 year old Mark would discover his father’s body. His sister committed suicide in 1996 and his mother died of lung cancer in 1998. And, as if that wasn’t enough, his cousin was a flight attendant on American Airlines flight 77, the flight which hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
He has channeled a lot of that grief, anger and loneliness into his music. With that in mind, you might expect his music and stage presence to be something akin to a funeral director singing karaoke. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mark was witty, engaging and, at times, self deprecating. I could tell from the moment the band walked on the stage that he was much loved by his fans. The show was amazing, the musicians tight and the music was lyrical a fluid. Before their first encore, while the rest of the band were taking their bows, Mark Oliver Everett jumped into the crowd and walked around the theatre, giving hugs to as many people as he could.
If you should get the chance to catch Eels live in concert the next time they hit your city definitely do so. I know I will be waiting for the next time the roll into Toronto.
It’s A Motherfucker
Grace Kelly Blues
I Like Birds
Where I’m Going
Can’t Help Falling In Love
Turn on Your Radio (Harry Nilsson cover)