We have been with Eli since the start first seeing him eleven years ago and this will be our sixth time in six different London venues and with probably six different line-ups and configurations with and without horns, with brass and without. The constant though is Eli’s enthusiasm, musicianship and that voice. Tonight he is joined by bass, keys, two piece horn section and the happiest smiliest drummer I have ever seen crammed on the small Dingwalls stage.
Tonight is very much a career retrospective spanning the last ten years and six albums. Whilst obviously promoting his fine new album ’99 Cent Dreams’ tracks are grabbed from throughout the catalogue with a couple of covers thrown in for good measure but sadly no room for my request for his great version of ‘Ace of Spades’. Maybe next time.
It’s a breathless non-stop set tonight kicking off with a superb version of ‘Cut Ya Down’ and the Van Morrisoneque ‘Bank Robber’ from the new album. The band are ‘on it’, tight as a packet of Rizla’s and even a broken string doesn’t stop Eli and after quickly borrowing Big Joe’s SG we are back in business.
The balance of the set is perfect with the right blend of high tempo dance alongs interspersed with some time for both band and audience to draw breath on the slower numbers. You can’t help warm to Eli, always with a smile on face and he genuinely looks happy to be here which cannot always be said of some bands. This energy and enthusiasm easily transports itself across to the audience who give it back in spades.
On a night where I don’t think a foot was put wrong (no joke intended) everyone leaves in an ultimately better frame of mind than when they entered. The encore starts with a mini tribute to the recently departed Dr John and ends on singalong crowd pleaser ‘Take my love with you’.
Probably the best show I’ve seen the Paperboy perform and certainly up there as a contender for my favourite gig of the year so far.
Till the next time keep on soulful rockin y’all