There aren't many shows where fans are given an option of indulging music or physics. Mark Oliver Everett, mainman of Eels, has made a documentary about the physicist father he never knew, but after the showing of a film the audience gathered in the Town Hall opted in favour of Everett's musical output.
Hunched over his guitar, the Virginia-born songwriter was distinguished only by the thick glasses and dark beard which were visible beneath his cap. On the back of the recent Meet the Eels collection - essentially a "greatest hits" in all but name - Everett ran through more than 20 songs in a perfectly-paced set, often choosing to play diamond-cut fragments rather than the full compositions.
Only Flyswatter, with its crashing piano chords and pneumatic drums, was stretched out for longer, morphing into a drumming relay between Everett and Eels companion The Chet.
With only the two men on stage, it made for a staggeringly intimate show. Accompanied by glockenspiel, drums or bowed saw, Everett alternated between stools, sat either with a guitar or at a piano, rendering the likes of Last Stop: This Town and The Sound of Fear as elegantly understated laments.
Much has been made of the tragedies surrounding his family, so what was most surprising was his deadpan humour, which was as much a part of the show as his plaintive, often heartbreaking songs. He read out reviews and fan letters, which may or may not be real, but sounded plausible and wacky enough to provoke roars of laughter.
After a nod to Led Zeppelin and UB40, a second encore saw Everett perform the title track of his most recent studio album, 2005's Blinking Lights and Other Revelations.
Beautiful and tender, like the entire show, it brought a quietly enchanting evening to a glorious end.