Review: Paul Weller at Portsmouth Guildhall

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One of Paul Weller’s best known solo singles may be The Changingman, but it was a surprise to see how comfortably familiar his set was.

That’s not a derogatory statement either – Weller’s downsizing from arenas to smaller venues for his current run of shows is a successful venture.

There just seemed to be few of the more experimental aspects of his recent studio work though.

With a set designed to support his second Modern Classics compilation, The Modfather was also keen to road test new material from forthcoming record Saturn’s Pattern.

Aside from the title track, I’m Where I Should Be promises good things.

Throughout, Weller’s laser-sharp band, including Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock, rarely strayed from a spiky energetic approach – a welcome and crowd-pleasing move that used the Guildhall’s excellent acoustics to full effect.

There were minor gripes of course – the over excitable strobe lighting became a distraction at times, and an unusually ponderous new song kicking off one of the two encores temporarily sucked the atmosphere out of the room.

Overall though, this was a solid and enjoyable performance, but one with few surprises.