It"s plain to see, 2003 is a Paul Weller world. His first band, The Jam (the mod-est of all), and its angsty catalog, got compacted into DVD/CD form on The Sound Of (Interscope). His beat-jazz-soul kings of cappuccino cool, Style Council, has 20th Century Masters (Universal). And his solo Illumination (Yep Roc) mixes a bit of both worlds into a spare psychedelic whole. While I once preferred Council"s sax-blasted, Hammond-organ-ized big boss groove (tunes like "Money-Go-Round") to The Jam's dire, dry blasts of guitar and Weller's socio-raspy rants, the earlier band's cutting sardonicism (personified by "In the City," "Bricks and Mortar" and "Carnaby Street") sounds more alive than ever. Weller runs with that crisply Spartan edge on Illumination Though it jumps from tart furtive futurist soul ("It's Written in the Stars") to unctuous British music hall ("Push Button, Automatic") and twirly twee folk ("Bag Man"), the CD is lit up by Weller's rough-hewn rocking. With Strummer gone, Costello turned into Burt Bacharach and John Lydon nearly a Hollywood Square, it's nice to see Paul Weller prove, among all old Brit punks, that the rasp and the rant remain the same.
Sun., Feb. 23, 8 p.m., $27.50-$30, Electric Factory, Seventh and Willow sts., 215-336-2000.
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