PAUL WELLER at Palais Royale, October 17. Tickets: $45. Attendance: 1,000. Rating: NN Rating: NN
It would appear that Paul Weller's gradual descent from Modfather to master of dad rock is complete. Having finally dipped, after an inexplicable absence, into his Jam/Style Council back catalogue for a storming Massey Hall set earlier this year, Weller returned to the Palais Royale for a sit-down acoustic gig that was as polite and explicitly adult as it could get.
Backed by one of the Oasis members who's not a Gallagher brother (guitarist Gem Archer ) and sporting a ludicrous poodle haircut, Weller kept things close. Chitchat was kept to a minimum, and a piano lurked largely unused in the background as the songwriter strummed through a predictable set.
With no new record to promote, this might have been the perfect opportunity to rework songs and use the stripped-down environment to put a new spin on old tunes, but Weller really couldn't be arsed. Instead, songs like That's Entertainment and A Town Called Malice were treated almost as classic rock anthems, too precious to tinker with. Couples were seen swaying gently arm in arm as though they were at a Simply Red show, chirping along to Headstart For Happiness.
The extended version of Wildwood was excellent, and a stroll through English Rose allowed the old boys to unfurl their St. George's Cross, but the intimacy of the venue failed to affect the performance. Weller's run through the hits seemed almost routine, with little of the passion or verve you'd expect.
After 75 minutes and a perfunctory encore, it was job done.