I admit it: I don’t know much about Paul Weller. But I never turn down a free show, I never turn down an open bar, and I certainly never turn down the opportunity to hear a free show with an open bar in the old CBGB space. The grime and rock and sex and drugs ooze from this place. Even now as a high-end retail store, the stickers and setlists are still stuck to the walls, and Varvatos has turned the space into a shrine for music memorabilia. (But don’t mistake this for a Hard Rock Cafe — John is true to the rock ‘n roll he loves.)
My friend Des got us on the list, and we settled into the space surrounded by…middle-aged men? Not the regular Varvatos concert crowd for sure. I mean, Slash was there last time, but he’s Slash. We do think we spotted Matt Pinfield and Moby though, and John was there to intro the band.
Paul sounded great. Known as the Modfather, he definitely had a ’70s and ’80s groove to him. He sounded more punk rock to us than anything else, with some definite Sex Pistols vibes. Which makes sense post-research. He played a good number of songs from his solo work, but he treated the audience to some of The Jam’s hits. (The Jam was recruited by The Clash to be their opened for The White Riot tour. Badass.)
No set list this time around, but definitely going to be looking into his music more. It was great to get a dose of legit punk rock in a legendary venue like CBGB. Even if tomorrow it’ll be back to being a retail shop. [God damn it, NYC. You can really kick music in the balls sometimes, you know that?] Anyway, thanks for the show, John. See ya around!