Review: Paul Weller, Thetford Forest

Saturday night at Thetford Forest’s High Lodge would see it’s most experienced line up take to the stage with Paul Weller being joined by Far From Saints, Kelly Jones from Stereophonics’ latest project. Both showing how being on stage in front of thousands is almost second nature to them now.

Opening the night with his politically charged songs was Seb Lowe, who’s lyrics summed up living in the UK over the last decade quite well, similar to the way the Modfather or Billy Bragg have over the years.

Kelly Jones then came to the stage with Pattie Lynn and Dwight Baker to perform some songs from their new album released recently under the Far From Saints moniker, an album that has taken four years to release as Jones told the crowd. With a very country and blues feel to the songs, that some might point to Baker and Lynn’s input, however slower Stereophonics songs like  Step On My Old Size Nines have certainly shown Jones’ own country side.

Jones and Lynn’s voices complement one and another fantastically, with a great band behind them, who were given a chance to stretch their legs during the extended jam towards the end of the set.

Then came the main event with an always sharply dressed Paul Weller taking to the stage with his band including long time band mate Steve Cradock, who Weller told the crowd later he has been working with for 30 years now.

Weller quickly showed he has no intentions of stopping pushing forward despite turning 65 last month, opening with Fat Pop’s Cosmic Fringes, followed by From The Floorboards Up both getting the band and fans moving.

Some of those fans will always want to hear more of The Jam songs, however despite selling Jam t-shirts at the merch stall, would only hear two songs tonight. This is his typical stubborn way, playing some brand new songs and telling the crowd “if you don’t like em, well that’s your f—in’ problem” to a laugh from the crowd.

His extensive 28 song set worked its way through many of his solo albums, along with four Style Council songs, of which Shout to the Top got people further to the back of the crowd to rise up from their seats and get dancing. Lots of the more laid back psychedelic numbers, felt that they suited the surroundings nicely, with the trees either side of the stage lit up.

Finishing up the main set with Start! which must be a privilege for young bassist to play the opening lick to with Weller. Following it with Heavy Soul’s Peacock Suit before leaving the stage.

He came back for a five song encore including three from Stanley Road, slowly the night down with You Do Something To Me, before sending the Jam fans home very happy with Town Called Malice.

Words and pictures: Stephen Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine

Stephen Keable Photos