In addition to a forthcoming UK arena tour and an extensive European sojourn, Paul Weller has announced a set of Irish dates including FIVE nights at the Dublin Olympia.
Paul, who at the NME Awards in February was quite rightly â€˜crownedâ€™ the yearâ€™s Godlike Genius, releases his eagerly anticipated new album â€œWake Up The Nationâ€ on Island Records on April 19th. Anyone going to see Paulâ€™s shows should expect to hear highlights from the new album plus a good smattering of oldies and goldies and perhaps a few surprisesâ€¦
The run of five Olympia Theatre, Dublin dates are as follows:
16th Dublin, Olympia
17th Dublin, Olympia
18th Dublin, Olympia
19th Dublin, Olympia
20th Dublin, Olympia
5 nights at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Tickets: â‚¬44.20 / â‚¬49.20 including booking fee
On sale This Friday 26th March at 9am
Additional Irish shows are:
Saturday 26th: Donegal, Bundoran Sea Sessions – www.seasessions.com
Sunday 27th : Cork, Live At The Marquee
PAUL WELLER â€œWAKE UP THE NATIONâ€
released 16th April 2010
After an unparalleled career, characterised by constant musical experimentation, we should be used to Paul Wellerâ€™s relentless desire to chop and change his musical pack. But after the triumphant, Brit-bagging success of 22 Dreams (his third solo number one) his tenth solo album sees rockâ€™s most iconic songwriter come up trumps once more.
Lean, mean and as uncompromisingly focused as itâ€™s maker, Wake Up The Nation also brings Paul Weller full circle: twenty-eight years on from The Jamâ€™s split, two tracks feature the bandâ€™s bassist Bruce Foxton.
â€œItâ€™s been a long time, obviously, but we both really enjoyed it â€œ says Paul of this unlikely reunion.
â€œBruce has still got his own style and sound, which really worked for the track weâ€™d planned to do, â€˜Fast Car Slow Trafficâ€™. Then we got him to play on â€˜She Speaksâ€™, which might not necessarily be his kind of thing, but he put his own stamp on that, too.â€
Sessions for what would become Wake Up the Nation began last January with 22 Dreams collaborator Simon Dine. Working at Wellerâ€™s de facto HQ, Black Barn Studios in Surrey, the duo â€“plus long term in-house engineer Charles Rees- set about creating a record inspired by Dineâ€™s musical vision.
â€œSimon had a clear idea about how the record should soundâ€ explains Paul.
â€œHe wanted to make it very urban and tough, quite metallic sounding. In quite a few cases I would improvise the vocals and see what happened. It was a completely different way of working.â€
To reflect the urgency and claustrophobia of city life, strict rules were laid down. Out went acoustic instrumentation and any folky or pastoral inflections. In came jagged rock grooves, Bowie-esque riffs (think Low or Diamond Dogs), and a genre-shredding spirit spawned from the sessions for 22 Dreams.
â€œWeâ€™d get people in to play on individual tracks as we needed themâ€ explains Paul.â€œKevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) plays on one track. Clem Cattini (legendary session drummer) and Bev Bevan (The Move/ELO) play on a couple of tunes. Little Barrie plays guitar on a couple. Andy Crofts (keyboardist in Wellerâ€™s touring band) played guitar, bass, keyboards and some stylophone. It was just a question of mixing it all up, and seeing what worked.â€
The result is a fourteen track blast of tungsten-tough rockâ€™nâ€™roll, already described by one insider as â€˜Stockhausen meets The Small Facesâ€™. If there are mellow moments -notably rare groove shuffle â€˜Aim Highâ€™ – the abrasive feel of â€˜Grasp And Still Connectâ€™ and limited edition single â€˜7 & 3 Is The Strikers Nameâ€™ are as musically challenging as any record youâ€™ll hear this year. But then what else would you expect from a songwriter whose influences range from Alice Coltrane to Vaughan Williams, and whose current listening includes Broadcastâ€™s Witch Cults Of The Radio Age and folk outfit Erland And The Carnival?
Lyrically, it marks a departure too. If 22 Dreams was a sprawling reverie, Wake Up The Nation is the sound of Weller wide awake, ready to take the world on again. Fans of Weller the polemicist (think â€˜Money Go Roundâ€™; â€˜Soul Deepâ€™) will be thrilled to hear itâ€™s his angriest sounding record in years.
â€œThe title track is a bit of a clarion call for our nationâ€ explains Paul.
â€œItâ€™s saying we should rise up against this sea of mediocrity, and get some greatness back into this country. The media, tv, music, politics, theyâ€™ve all become bland. Itâ€™s not that people have become apathetic, they feel disenfranchised. Thereâ€™s no real democracy any more. Before the Iraq War there were a million people who marched against it and it didnâ€™t make a scrap of difference.â€
â€œMusically, itâ€™s an obvious target, but shows like X Factor also set a very low standard for people to look up to. I know Iâ€™ll sound old fashioned, but I had people like The Beatles and the Kinks to look up to. Thatâ€™s why the Rage Against The Machine thing was so good. Iâ€™d like to see a huge backlash against celebrity culture.â€
Amidst the lyrical fire, thereâ€™s also consummate skill. â€˜No Tears To Cryâ€™ is a sublime Walker Brothers influenced ballad, while â€˜Treesâ€™ is a five-part musical montage about the passage of life which pinballs from ragtime to polka to punk to psych-pop to gospel in just over four mind-blowing minutes.
â€œThat was inspired by going to see my dad in a nursing home just before he diedâ€ explains Paul.
â€œI was trying to imagine what those peopleâ€™s lives were like. Some of the old girls would once have been beautiful young women, and now they were just waiting to be replaced back into the earth or the atmosphere, or whatever it is that happens to us.â€
Passion, progression, and, as ever, spine-tingling rockâ€™nâ€™roll â€“Paul Weller has, yet again, delivered the perfect soundtrack as we embark on a new decade.
â€œI canâ€™t wait to get out there and play it to peopleâ€ enthuses Paul.