The eclectic and enigmatic Eels played to a seasoned crowd in Webster Hall, New York after a 4-year wait, delayed by the pandemic. The band’s attire was coordinated as ever, this time in suits (I prefer the matching tracksuits). With their distinctive blend of introspective lyrics and captivating melodies, Eels delivered exactly what the happy audience wanted.

Frontman Mark Oliver Everett, better known as E, stepped on stage suited, but not booted (bare feet) and immediately broke into his trademark ‘Dad dancing’ routine as the band dialed it up. The show opened with “Steam Engine” from their most recent album, Extreme Witchcraft and blasted through a 4-song set before pausing to say ‘hi’.

As the band launched into their extensive catalog and a smattering of covers, it became clear that they were masters of dynamics. The setlist traversed various moods, from the melancholic melodies of "Novocaine for the Soul" and “I Need Some Sleep” to the upbeat and infectious rhythms of "Good Night On Earth".

E's raw and emotionally charged vocals resonated throughout the venue, creating an intimacy to the night. Maybe to break the intensity, E sprinkles in some fun themes that run through his gigs. The jokes for the night included referring to New York as the Big Banana, the drummer munching on biscuits and celebrating each band member as they achieved 10,000 steps for the day.

One of the highlights of the evening was the band's musicianship. Each band member demonstrated exceptional skill and had their moments in the spotlight. Their cohesion and tightness as a unit were evident, they’ve been on tour for quite a while! The show included most of the classics, “My Beloved Monster” was performed in the style of “You Really Got Me” and we were treated to a rocked-up version of “I Like Birds”.

While Eels' music is often introspective and contemplative, their live performance was far from somber. E engaged with the crowd using witty banter, groovy dancing and generally having fun to keep the mood upbeat.

A quick shout out to the support, Austin Antoine who blended hip/hop rap with some freestyle rapping with the audience.

Special mention must be made of the band's double encore, which left the audience happy and giddy. Returning for a climactic finish, Eels ended with a great cover of “God Gave Rock and Roll to You”, an explosive and euphoric climax.

In conclusion, Eels' performance at Webster Hall was wonderful and intimate. The band's ability to seamlessly blend introspection with energy and humour created a happy experience. E may have a shaggier, greyer beard but he still rocks.