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Gig review: Eels, O2 ABC, Glasgow

Four stars

A sing-a-long, a villain, affable sidekicks and a glut of puns; Eels, those slippery musical fish, are on fine pantomime form. Back in Glasgow just six months after performing in the city, Mr E and his merry troupe of tracksuited troubadours are on a mission to rock.

Four guitarists and a drummer put Eels in attack mode: the grind of Cancer For The Cure, the relentless electro-groan of Souljacker Part 1. There are, as in any finely co-ordinated stage shows, some sweet spots - a joyously menacing Peach Blossom, the wistful In My Dreams, a slow version of Dirty Girl and a slight but pretty Fresh Feeling.

Of course, there is the mandatory audience participation. Each band member has their own introductory song, culminating in Let It Be E, that well-worn Beatles chorus sung from and to the stage with love.

There's no coincidence that Mr E, said quickly, sounds like misery or mystery. But the order of Eels presented tonight are jaunty, jovial, full of mischief. With an eye for detail, E has his band dressed identically. Even the guitar tech sports a beard to match those of the band. An encore mashes My Beloved Monster with Mr E's Beautiful Blues, a sad sound to older fans who loved those songs on their merits and not for their featuring on the soundtrack of Shrek.

Finally, after the lights are up, Eels return for their customary "secret" encore, Dog Faced Boy, accompanied by a troupe of dancing girls with 1940s hair and noughties moves. You cannot but admire a man who hires dancers purely for one last song, played after the most of the audience has gone. But that's Mr E. After 20-odd years and 20-odd albums you cannot but admire the man.

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