Eels at Metro

Eels may be the only band I’ve ever seen with a fake set list. As opening act Jesca Hoop performed before the Eels show Friday (Oct. 1) at Metro, I took pictures of a set list taped to the show, which was labeled “Eels” and appeared to be a list of the songs the singer-songwriter E (a.k.a. Mark Everett) would be performing later with his band, Eels. Well, I was fooled.

While I do admire the music of Eels, I must confess that I’m not all that familiar with the song titles. But as I consulted my pictures of the set list on the back of my camera during the show, I quickly realized something was fishy about those titles. Fellow music photographer and writer Kirstie Shanley (a.k.a. Kirstiecat) then informed me that the fake set list had been replaced with an actual set list as Eels took the stage. I’d missed that moment since I was standing over on the other side of the photo pit. She was kind enough to share her photo of the actual set list with me (in which a few titles were partially obscured).

All of this is yet another example of E’s peculiar sense of humor. I don’t know what all of the fake song titles mean. One includes the stage name of the new Eels guitarist, “P-Boo.” And while Eels actually played a cover of Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City,” the fake set list included a different Lovin’ Spoonful hit, “Do You Believe in Magic?” And at the point where Eels played George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” the set list indicated, “If on a Winter’s Night.” Also, what’s with all of the songs about summer? During “Summertime,” E opened a cooler and tossed some ice-cream cones and other frozen desserts into the audience.

E played the first few songs either solo or accompanied by just pedal-steel guitar. Then for the rest of the set, Eels were in their rock-show mode. E’s face was barely visible, hidden behind dark shades, a bandana and a mass of facial hair. And the other four musicians, all of them bearded, wore sunglasses as well.

Opening act Hoop’s music still hasn’t clicked with me, and her set didn’t quite win me over. Still, it was tons better than the first act of the night, a ventriloquist comedian whose jokes fell flat with uncomfortable silence. Was that E’s idea, too?

ACTUAL EELS SET LIST: Grace Kelly Blues / What I Have to Offer / End Times / She Said Yeah / Gone Man / Summer in the City / Tremendous Dynamite / In My Younger Days / Paradise Blues / Jungle Telegraph / My Beloved Monster / Spectacular Girl / Fresh Feeling / Dog Faced Boy / That Look You Gave That Guy / Souljacker Part 1 / Talking’ ‘Bout Knuckles / Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues / I Like Birds / Summertime / Looking Up / ENCORE 1: That’s Not Her Way / ENCORE 2: I Like the Way This Is Going

FAKE EELS SET LIST: New Pollution / She Said What? / Gone Baby Gone / Tender Dreams of Love / Beethoven’s Cunt / Not Now / The Name Game / Butter Blues / Gimme a Jingle / Blowing Sunshine (Part 1) / Spectacular Giraffe / Peace Frog / The Book You Gave That Girl / Soul Cake (Part 1) / P-Boo, Baby / Karate Monkey / Roxanne / If on a Winter’s Night / Blowing Sunshine (Part 2) / ENCORE 1: Do You Believe in Magic? / ENCORE 2: Hot Blooded

UPDATE: Thanks to Chris Fairfield for e-mailing me and filling in the gaps on the set list.

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PHOTOS OF JESCA HOOP