Eels @ Crescent Ballroom

As founder of genre-spanning songwriter project Eels, Mark Oliver Everett, better known as E, knows what it's like to reinvent himself. Since the band's formation in 1995, he's bounced among genres while never fearing wearing his heart on his sleeve. With The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, Eels' most recent release, E strips his trademark emotive material down to its most basic form. "I decided I wanted to try to be brave enough to just make it as hard-hitting and stark as possible," he says. "I took off anything that might have sounded like anything that would be typically a [radio] single candidate." It's a nontraditional route, but the record's theme is that of personal responsibility after all. Phoenix is the first stop on Eels' upcoming tour and will mark the live debut of songs from Cautionary Tales. How they'll translate to the stage has yet to be determined, even by E himself. "I'm thinking it's hopefully going to be a really interesting musical night, but you never know — it could be a complete train wreck," he says. "I think either way you'll get your money's worth. Let's face it: Train wrecks are entertaining."


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