The Three Lives of Mr. W.

Paul Weller's mood revival in Jesolo
by Sergio Collavini

Chameleonic, eclectic, refined. Paul Weller at the Palazzo del Turismo on September 24th for a date that becomes a happening.

Paul Weller returns to Italy for four summer 2023 dates: Milan, Rome, Bologna, and Jesolo. He’s not the kind to fill up sports arenas, he prefers 2-3000 seat venues, so it will be the Palazzo del Turismo in Jesolo to host his September 24 concert. Now in his third artistic phase, Weller’s vitality remains, resisting retirement. His first two stages, especially the second, are familiar to a knowledgeable audience, not necessarily groupies. With The Jam, he rides punk’s wave, carving a niche distinct from Pistols etcetera, rather taking inspiration in the Beatles, the Kinks, the Who, and the 60s scene overall. The band leads the mod revival, climbing charts records after records until Weller departs on the brink of global fame. 1982 marks The Jam’s end. Weller and Mick Talbot found The Style Council, shifting to easy jazz and northern soul-infused dance rhythms. Despite their pop essence, they address significant social and political issues, too. Their second album, Our Favourite Shop, tops charts in 1985. As a modernist (“I’m still a mod, I’ll always be a mod, you can bury me a mod.”) Weller seeks evolution. The Cost of Loving introduces R&B elements, securing second place in 1987, also helped that by this time, Weller is an important, recognized figure in the British scene.

1988’s Confession of a Pop Group blends Talbot’s acid jazz with Paul’s pop and reggae influences. Sales disappoint, but there will be more chances further down the road. Modernism: A New Decade is rejected by Polydor and ended up being released only in 1998. In 1990, Weller starts a solo journey, embracing the life of the British poet of everyday life, shunning fame, and connecting with fans. Not easily approachable by media, he supports charities, is always impeccably dressed, and focuses his live performances on his latest work, though never reneging his past. Today, Weller is an artist who can claim diversity, continuity, and quality in his production. As far as British music goes, I’ll say only David Bowie can claim the same. (Weller fathered eight children, by the way, and named one of them Bowie). Read more about him in Antonio Bacciocchi’s L’uomo cangiante. Three album highlights, one for each of his lives: The Jam’s All Mod Cons (1978), The Style Council’s Our Favourite Shop (1985), and solo Stanley Road (1995).

Sunday, 24 September 2023