AS Mark Oliver Everett, best known by his stage moniker E wrote on the Eels band facebook page, “Thank God today is a day off. Milan, that was a fun one! Mr Charles Manson in the house and our first ever version of ‘Helter Skelter’. Yes, it was certainly quite a night at the Circolo Magnolia, a quaint location in Milan’s idroscalo where many pretty Italian men and women, mainly in the 25-50 age range, were gathered to see, hear and experience one of the best indie rock recording and live artists of the last 20 years.

With a pretty neat newish album “The Deconstruction” in tow as they tour Europe this summer, E, on guitar and assorted percussive instruments, and the band, The Chet on lead guitar, Big Al on bass and Little Joe on drums, are determined that the shows be fun with running gags and some horsing around to boot, whilst dishing out great rock’n’roll at its best. The Chet especially has some magnificent sounds going on with his guitars giving the songs a nervous energy and taking the sound into psychedelia land. E with his gruff but full, aching vocals and percussive touches added to Al and Joe’s solid beat backbone make this a wonderful, glorious should I say, sonic experience.

Coming out on stage to “Fanfare for Rocky”, the band in salmon pink jeans and black shirts, E in blue jean shirt and trousers and trademark hat, everyone wearing dark shades, sure look cool. As the intro suggests, the championship fight is on. Gong! The opening rounds have the band play three covers, The Who’s “Out in the Street”, “Mississippi Delta” and the purple one’s “Raspberry Beret” feeling out the crowd, getting used to the ring/stage. The middle rounds have some Jake La Motta moments, songs like “Flyswatter”, “Open My Present”, “You Are My Shining Light”, real sucker punches to the gut that the crowd tries to soak up. However, there are moments of a delicate and sensual nature like an Ali shuffle or Sugar Ray Leonard flurry that mesmerise and beg attention like “I Need Some Sleep”, “I like the Way This Is Going”.

It is after this aforementioned track that E can no longer be silent about the presence of Charles Manson in the house, and things get strange with an almost nervous tension setting in both inside and outside the ring. The more E jokes about CM, the more he seems perturbed. When The Chet breaks into “Helter Skelter” and the band follow his lead it’s all “in the moment” stuff and we are primed for a knockout and lights out. Thankfully this does not arrive and after some classic Eels tracks, two sets of encores with a magnificent “Fresh Blood” and an endearing “Love and Mercy”, E leaves the ring/stage easily winning the bout on a unanimous points decision, allowing the band to close the proceedings by playing Abbey Road’s “The End” which is a cool parting gift to those in the know.

Eels concerts are often quite a surprize, not necessarily good all the time but tonight it was quite clear that on stage at least, E is on good form, happy to be with these musicians who shadow box perfectly with him. There are many more championship bouts left in this pro’s career, that’s for sure.

Out in the Street
(The Who cover)
Mississippi Delta
(Bobbie Gentry cover)
Raspberry Beret
(Prince cover)
Bone Dry
Dog Faced Boy
I Need Some Sleep
Dirty Girl
Daisies of the Galaxy
She Said Yeah
(The Rolling Stones cover)
Tremendous Dynamite
Open My Present
You Are the Shining Light
My Beloved Monster
In My Dreams
I Like the Way This Is Going
Helter Skelter
(The Beatles cover)
Little Joe!
Today Is the Day
Novocaine for the Soul
Souljacker, Part I
I Like Birds
P.S. You Rock My World

Fresh Feeling
Mr. E's Beautiful Blues
Fresh Blood

Encore 2:
Love and Mercy / Blinking Lights (For Me) / Wonderful, Glorious

The End
(The Beatles cover)