After releasing their 12th studio album in 2018, the Eels have returned for the Triumphant Return of Eels tour. On Sunday, April 21, the American rock band took the stage of the Gothic theatre in Denver, Colorado, for the first stop of the tour.
The Inspector Cluzo opened up the night with an energetic set. The French rock duo is composed of Matthieu Jourdain on the drums, and Laurent Lacrouts on guitar. They played a compilation of songs including drums and guitar, but the high vocals are what it takes to push their music to a fusion between funk, rock, and metal. The Inspector Cluzo was interactive; Matthieu Jourdain dancing humorously sensual with Laurent Lacrouts MC’ing is exactly what the crowd needed to loosen up for the Eels.
At last, lead singer Mark Oliver Everett came out with The Chet (Jeff Lyster), Big Al (Allen Hunter) and introduced a new member, Little Joe. The band was formed in 1995, so the band members have changed a bit over time, making Mark Oliver Everett the one and only official person to contribute to the majority of the bands work. They all came out in black sunglasses, coordinating with orange accents in their clothes. For how much experience these guys have, their aesthetic was almost guaranteed.
Eels opened their performance up with a cover of Bobbie Gentry’s “Mississippi Delta,” soothing the audience into the nostalgic experience of seeing the Eels live. Mark Oliver Everett made use of a tambourine while he sang, The Chet soulfully strummed the guitar, Big Al plucked his bass guitar, and newest member little Joe was jamming out on the drums. The Gothic theatre was filled with an older crowd; Regardless, people were swaying and singing along, if not in a full on jam sesh.
Mark Oliver Everett made a point to mention that Eels’ music is very “dad rock.” The lead singer joked about the old age of the band and audience members throughout the whole night, influencing the atmosphere with his positive and lighthearted energy. You know it’s one heck of a rock concert when the lead singer requests his oxygen tank.
When the Eels did turn it down a notch, a delicate melody announced “I Need Some Sleep,” and Gothic theatre suddenly became an intimate showcase of soft rock. The slight raspiness in Mark Oliver Everett’s voice embodies exhaustion, a symbol not lost for him on stage.
You could not know a single song by the Eels and still have a blast at this show. Besides, there’s no chance you don’t know “My Beloved Monster.” The iconic steady picking of bass guitar that foreshadows the romantic tie between Shrek and Princess Fiona is the same that introduces this iconic song. Mark Oliver Everett busted out the castanets for this one, mentioning The Chet’s superiority in talent, and the Eels performed “My Beloved Monster” with colorful beams lit behind them.
American rock band eels closed out their show with “Novocaine for the Soul” before the audience demanded an encore. So, Eels performed “Fresh Feeling” as their last song, before another encore. Mark Oliver Everett came out as the crowd cheered for more, and insisted that the only way to get the other band members out was for an Easter egg hunt. The musicians scrambled around the stage before determining The Chet the winner. After performing “Goddamn right it’s a beautiful day,” and “Fresh Blood,” the band announced their last and final song: a cover of “Love and Mercy” by Brian Wilson.
The Eels have been making music since 1995, and with their new tour beginning, there is no end in sight. Check out tour dates for the Triumphant return of the eels on their website: https://eelstheband.com.
Written by Stephanie Regan
Photography by Jason Habib