BREVIEW: Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18

Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe




Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe

You can spot Paul Weller fans from a mile off. Clad in Fred Perry polo shirts and jeans, and finished off with a Harrington jacket, the Genting Arena is teeming with them. It looks like everyone has stepped out of the 80s, back when The Jam were at the height of their career.

Since Weller first emerged as The Modfather back in the day, he has released a total of 26 albums with three different ensembles. His 14th as a solo artist, True Meanings, is scheduled for release on 14th September.Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe As a musician who has been performing since before I was born, I decided to bring along the biggest Paul Weller expert I know – my dad, who has been listening to Weller since he was 15 and is brutally honest after a pint or two.

As a rescheduled show, having postponed the original March gig due to severe weather conditions – namely ‘the beast from the east’ –  the Genting Arena isn’t as busy as I had anticipated; many fans have not been able to make it to the new date, and the new seating arrangements which have been put in place have got some that could angry and frustrated. We slowly weave our way through disgruntled men and women before settling in by the sound desk for the evening.Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe

Paul Weller’s stage is surprisingly bare. Having shot my fair share of shows in the Genting Arena, I have become accustomed to bizarre stage set ups, with CO2 cannons, pyro, and just about every visual prop you can think of. He’s forgone all this for two simple black and white film screens each side of the stage to broadcast his performance. A brave move for someone in this day and age, however somehow it works. Weller’s audience aren’t here for the theatrics – they’ve been lifelong fans, many of them listening to his material since they were in their teens.

Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeKicking off his set with ‘White Sky’ from his 12th album Saturns Pattern, we’re treated to a 29 song setlist which spans the entire of Weller’s career. While his newer material such as ‘Woo Sé Mama’ certainly gets people swaying, it’s not surprising that it’s material from his days in The Jam and The Style Council which garners the best reaction tonight; after people head for the bar during ‘Long Time’, they’re soon racing back in to dance along to ‘Man in a Corner Shop’.

Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeIt must be hard playing to a crowd who only seem to want to hear the classics, as many leave the arena to grab refreshments during Weller’s more recent songs. As an artist who has expressed numerous times his desire to move away from his Modfather days, I can only imagine his frustration at playing new material to a room who seem more interested in the contents of a ‘greatest hits’ compilation from The Jam. Every time a tech appears on stage clutching a telecaster guitar, the crowd begin to whoop excitedly, knowing they’re about to hear yet another 80’s throwback.Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe

Despite this, Weller is in good spirits and glides effortlessly between instruments, dabbing with a grand piano during tracks like ‘You Do Something to Me’. His performance is top notch, which is impressive considering the different genres we are treated to throughout the night. From the Britpop style of ‘That’s Entertainment’ to the folk ballad ‘Wild Wood’, Weller and his backing band flit seamlessly between styles with ease.

He’s also the only artist I have ever witnessed to do not one, but two encores, although this confuses the crowd somewhat and results in a third of them leaving before he performs ‘Town Called Malice’. To my amusement, a gentleman in front of us begins to clap his crutches excitedly over his head while screaming along to the chorus. It’s a sight to behold.

Taking a bow along with his band to rapturous applause from the room, I’m excited to see what style we’ll be treated to when True Meanings is released in September. And whilst the album’s early releases and cited collaborations point towards his more folk focused songwriting, the beauty with Paul Weller’s music is that it truly could be anything.

For more on Paul Weller, visit

For more on Stone Foundation, visit

For more on the Genting Arena, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18

BPREVIEW: Paul Weller @ Genting Arena 24.08.18

Words by Eleanor Sutcliffe

After rescheduling his Birmingham show in March due to heavy snow, Paul Weller will be performing at Genting Arena on the Friday 24th August – with support from Stone Foundation.

Doors open at the Genting Arena from 7:30pm, with all original tickets remaining valid for the rescheduled date. Further tickets are also available, priced from £48.61 + fulfillment fees. For direct gig information, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Paul Weller has been back on the road as a precursor to his latest album, True Meanings, scheduled for release on September 14th 2018 through Parlophone Records. Weller has released a somewhat staggering 14 solo studio albums since 1992, underpinning a career that has seen him release a total of 26 studio albums as the frontman of three prominent ensembles.

Rising to fame back in the 1970s with his first band, The Jam, it wasn’t too long before Weller broke into the UK Top 40  with their debut single, ‘In the City’, scrapping into the official album chart in May 1977. The Jam’s follow up and more politically charged ‘Eton Rifles’ made it to No3 in November 1979, before Weller scooped up his first No1 with The Jam’s ‘Going Underground’ in March 1980.

But six studio albums and multiple hits later Weller decided he’d had enough and left The Jam, much to the surprise of fellow band members Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton and Steve Brookes. And seemingly their fans, as The Jam’s 1982 farewell tour sold out shows across the UK including five consecutive dates at Wembley Arena while both their final single, ‘Beat Surrender’, and studio album, The Gift, reached No 1 on the official UK charts.

Determined to move on musically Weller was soon focused on another project, and so in 1982 The Style Council emerged. Teaming up with keyboard player Mick Talbot, drummer Steve White, and former Wham! backing singer Dee. C Lee, The Style Council explored different musical genres and styles including jazz, folk and R &B, and achieved modest success across Europe and America. Gaining his first ever No1 singles in America and Australia, with ‘You’re The Best Thing’ and ‘Shout To The Top’, Weller reportedly felt free from The Jam-shaped box which he had been confined to earlier on in his career. However as the 1980s came to an end so did The Style Council, announcing their split in 1989 after Polydoor refused to release their deep house tinged fifth studio album, Modernism: A New Decade.

Whilst many musicians would then live out the rest of their careers regurgitating past hits with an unenthusiastic backing band, Weller was always known for going against the grain which was exactly what he did, as he paved the way for his solo career. After a slow start with his eponymous solo debut, Weller reinforced his place as one of Britain’s finest singer/songwriters with the release his Mercury prize nominated Wild Wood in 1993, followed by the widely revered Stanley Road in 1995.

Now with 13 solo studio albums tucked under his belt and another on the way, as well as numerous accolades including the 2006 BRIT Lifetime Achievement Award, it’s clear that The Modfather isn’t departing from the British music scene anytime soon.

True Meanings, with promotional material boasting a ‘grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration’ with ‘Paul’s better-than-ever voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words’, is scheduled for release on 14th September and features a variety of collaborations from artists including Lucy Rose, Rod Argent (The Zombies) and Noel Gallagher.

The lead single from True Meanings, ‘Aspects’, was released on 25th May to coincide with Paul Weller’s 60th Birthday, whilst the album’s latest teaser, ‘Movin’ On’, was released on 1st August.

‘Aspects’ – Paul Weller 

Paul Weller plays at the Genting Arena on Friday 24th August, with support from Stone Foundation – the gig has been rescheduled from 2nd March, with all original tickets still valid. For direct information, including venue details and links to online tickets, visit

For more on Paul Weller, visit

For more on Stone Foundation, visit

For more on the Genting Arena, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

ED’S PICK: March ‘18

Rews + You Dirty Blue, P.E.T @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.18Words by Ed King

**Due to the severe weather conditions, some March editorial may be delayed. It has nothing to do with 1) hangovers, 2) gigs on a Sunday that cause hangovers, 3) each episode of The Deuce being 1hr long. It’s the snow… it’s all about the snow**

The BIG NEWS this month is that Rews are coming back to Birmingham, finishing of their England tour with a special gig at the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 22nd March – joined by an awesome local line up, Tamworth’s garage rock two piece You Dirty Blue and Birmingham’s rising balloon punksters P.E.T.

Still out smashing holes in radio playlists and the right kind of ear drums across the country,  Rews are back on the road (do they ever stop!?!?) with their debut album Pyro – a rock pop stonker which we thoroughly suggest you check out. Read my Birmingham Review of the ten track beast here, or cut out the middle person and just get yourself a copy. You can bill me if you’re unhappy.

But Rews are a step up live. And don’t just take my word for it, ask any of the following: Hew Edwards, Mark Radcliffe, John Kennedy, Scott Mills, Alice Levine, Dev, Greg James, Scott Mills, Clara Amfo, Adele Roberts… (and that’s just the beeb). Or anyone who’s seen them play. Or Google. It’s not a difficult cross reference.

Of course, the best way to know for absolute certainty is to come and see Rews at the Hare & Hounds on 22nd March – for direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here. Or to can hop over to the Facebook event page for updates, info and links aplenty – click here.

Paloma Faith @ Genting Arena 21.03.18WARNING – CONTAINS CIVIC PRIDE: Rews have bolted Birmingham onto their England tour dates because their last gig in the city was such a stormer – Birmingham loves Rews, and it seems there’s a little mutual flutter there too. So, come down to the Hare on 22nd March, enjoy an awesome gig from Rews, You Dirty Blue and P.E.T, and stand on for your local live music scene. BRUMMIES UNITE.

And breathe…. There are other gigs this month, some pretty high profile shows too. In the land of five figure crowds, the Genting Arena hosts All Time Low (15th Mar) and the resplendent resurfacing of Paloma Faith (21st Mar). Whilst at Arena Birmingham we see some of America’s A-Lists rock with Fall Out Boy (27th Mar) and 30 Seconds to Mars (29th Mar). So, that’ll keep you busy. And a little broke.

Feeder @ O2 Academy 14.03.18N.B. Paul Weller was scheduled to play at the Genting Arena on 2nd March, but due to the school run slaying beast from the east (erm, the snow) this gig has been postponed. When we know more…

Editors play an ‘intimate’ gig at the Town Hall (4th Mar) to showcase their new album, Violence. Whilst across town Hookworms headline at the Hare & Hounds (4th Mar), and across the road Amit Dittani introduces his debut solo album, Santiago, at the Kitchen Garden Café (4th Mar).

Elsewhere in the city, Ezio return to Birmingham but this time at the Kitchen Garden Cafe (7th Mar), Astroid Boys tour their debut album, Broke, at The Asylum (1th Mar), Feeder take us on a retrospective love in at the O2 Academy (14th Mar), Joan Baez celebrates the end of a near 60 year live career as her Fare Thee Well Tour comes to the Symphony Hall (14th Mar), The Stranglers come to the O2 Academy (17th Mar),Rae Morris @ O2 Institute 21.03.18 ‘First Lady of Celtic Music’ and Clannad family member Moya Brennan plays at the Glee Club (20th Mar), whilst Rae Morris brings a sneak peak of her sophomore album, Someone Out There, to the O2 Institute (21st Mar). Phew… can anyone lend me a tenner?

And so exciting it gets it’s own paragraph, electronic music pioneers, Plaid, bring their AV tour to the Hare & Hounds on 10th March. A pivotal piece in the EDM jigsaw, Plaid come back to Birmingham after their sell out gig in the city last year – if this show doesn’t pack out then there’s something inherently wrong with the world, so we would suggest getting your Warp loving wriggle on and buying a ticket or two quick smart. For direct gig info and online ticket sales, click here or on the relevant hyper link.

Plaid @ Hare & Hounds 10.03.18A little later in the month the same promoters, Scratch Club, are putting on a breaks, beats and hip hop free bash at One Trick Pony with Dr Syntax (The Mouse Outfit, Foreign Beggars) & Pete Cannon, joined by Birmingham’s own DMC champion Mr Switch (30th Mar). For free..!?!? Now that’s a good bloomin’ Friday.

Film is stomping is size 10s across the city too, a cheeky month before Flatpack #12, with a healthy collage of celluloid (well, probably digital now) coming to screens in a variety of Birmingham venues. Ruben Östlund’s takes a well-penned stab at the pretensions of class and art with The Square – on general UK release from 16th March, before coming to The Electric (23rd Mar) and mac (30th Mar). Whilst mac programme a centennial celebration of Ingmar Burgman with The Seventh Seal (16th Mar), The Touch (17th Mar) and Persona (18th Mar).Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits @ The Mockingbird Kitchen & Cinema 26.03.18

The Mockingbird hosts a Wes Anderson Marathon (18th Mar) featuring The Royal Tenenbaums at 12noon, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou at 2:30pm, Fantastic Mr Fox at 5:00pm and The Grand Budapest Hotel at 6:45pm. Bit of a welcome refresher course before Anderson’s latest (and animated) feature, Isle of Dogs, is out on general release from 30th March – with two preview screenings at The Electric (25th Mar) if you wanted to jump the gun a little.

The Mockingbird are also showing the eponymous biopic about the notorious fashion designer, Westwood, throughout the month. But we recommend you wait until 26th March, so you can jump straight into Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits – another biopic, but this time about an altogether more altogether slice of formative female punk.Comedy Short - fundraiser fro SIFA Fireside @ Artefact (Stirchley High Street) 21.03.18

On the city’s smaller silver screens this March, Neighbourhood present a series of comedy shorts at Artefact in Stirchley (21st Mar) – with a pay as you feel fundraiser for SIFA Fireside, a Birmingham based organisation who support ‘those experiencing homelessness or who are vulnerably-housed.’ A great charity that deserves our cash and consideration; look outside, now pay what you feel.

Elsewhere, The Victoria welcomes the rescheduled Birmingham Horror Group: Mini-Movie Marathon (25th Mar) which is also fundraising – this time ‘with proceeds from ticket sales going to the medical charity Diabetes UK’. Whilst the Kitchen Garden Café screen the Arnie body count craziness and all round awesome… Predator  (20th Mar) – which we are more than a little happy about. I’m off to buy a dog eared cigar, dog eared dog tags, and practice the film’s profound script such as, “if it bleeds we can kill it”. Powerful stuff Arn, Kierkegaard?

The Gilded Merkin @ Glee Club 18.03.18Treading the boards this month, Joe Black starts the UK run of his new show, Touch of Evil: A Celebration of Villainy in Song, with two nights at The Old Joint Stock (09-10th Mar). The Birmingham REP stages fingersmiths’ rewrite of John Godber’s Up’n’Under (12-14th Mar) – a play about pride and adversity (and rugby, to be fair) which has been adapted for all audiences ‘with a cast of Deaf and hearing actors using British Sign Language and spoken English’.

Overlapping a little bit, REP also present The Kite Runner (13-24th Mar) performed in venue’s main theatre, coming to Birmingham after ‘an outstanding’ run in the West End. Then back in the ‘burbs, The Wardrobe Ensemble present their tale 90’s nostalgia and the Blair honeymoon – Education, Education, Education – at mac (20th Mar).

On the more glamourous side of town, Alyssa Edwards’ The Secret Is Out Tour saunters over to the Glee Club (7th Mar), before BCU’s Burlesque society present Dare to Desire at the Bierkeller (15th Mar) and Scarlett Daggers brings The Gilded Merkin burlesque show back to the Glee Club (18th Mar).The Twisted Circus @ O2 Academy 30.03.18 Not far behind is Ben DeLaCreme, with her ‘terminally delightful’ show coming to the Glee Club (29th Mar) – a day before Klub Kids present The Twisted Circus in all its glitz and glory at the O2 Academy (30th Mar).

Comedy has a pretty decent crack of the whip in March too, kicking off with Russell Brand’s Re:Birth at Symphony Hall (8th Mar) before the Glee Club takes the reigns until April, with Phil Wang (11th Mar), John Robbins (21st Mar) and Tiff Stevenson (23rd Mar).

Outside of all that, if you’ve got any dry socks or shekles left, there’s A Notorious Odyssey at The Electric (24th Mar) – as Birmingham’s 35 piece a cappella choir, notorious, take us on ‘a musical voyage where no audience has gone before’ performing ‘tunes from sc-fi films and TV, to music inspired by space and the future.’

Across town and the space-time continuum, Rupi Kaur presents an evening of performance poetry the Town Hall (24th Mar) including work from her recently released second collection, The Sun and Her Flowers.Phil Wang @ Glee Club 11.03.18 Then just shy of a week later, Richard P Rogers rounds off the month with his Frank Cook and the Birmingham Scene exhibition at mac’s Community Gallery (30th Mar) – a study of the titular Ladywood artist, as he worked his way from the north Birmingham back to backs to art school in London in the late 1960’s.

Right then, a fair amount happening in March – I’m off to do some diary/bank statement cross referencing. And maybe drink a glass of wine, or two. What day is it again…?

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlinks. Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview.