Sunday, April 10, 2005

Fannying about

Teenage Fanclub - Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow

In the polite, cosy surroundings of the Mitchell Theatre Norman Blake makes a rock ‘n roll gesture of goodwill.
“If you’re good, Francis will throw you his sticks later.”
“You can throw your stick up me anytime honey!” squawks a loud Glaswegian voice.
‘Chell and her pal Julie are having a rare old time, defying the no dancing in the aisles rule and cheering on their favourite band. It’s a harmless bit of mischief, proving that there can be life amongst a seated audience.
Mildly bemused, Norman carries on with the task in hand: delivering some of the loveliest pop songs ever written, golden nuggets of love and wisdom.
From the start, Teenage Fanclub sound absolutely splendid. Unassuming as ever, they amble on to rapturous applause. There’s a genuine sense of love for this band and when they strike up the opening chords and harmonies of ‘About You’ it’s felt all the more deeply. I feel lifted, like a big ray of sunshine has burst through my soul. It’s a sweet sensation, one you don’t from your average gig.
Hearing so many Fanclub classics back to back is just sublime. There’s something about the Fannies sound that just brings a warm glow to my soul. This is a band that has the power pop trick of rocking with grace nailed. The vocals lilt and sigh, the guitars sparkle and even when the drums stomp, they stomp with elegance.
Verisimilitude sees Raymond McGinlay utter a hesitant f-word and Norman thrash at a bright red Fender with childlike glee. Sparky’s Dream has an older gent in front of me stomping his feet and waving his arms in an air drum reverie. And Ain’t That Enough is glorious, that delightful build up leading into that most gorgeous of choruses. “Here is the sunrise, ain’t that enough?” There’s contentment there, but no complacency. It’s a song that conveys pure love and joy, and yes, that’s enough.
And the new songs? Well, the new songs sound just fine. On first listen they seem like the kind of tunes that will take a couple of listens to fully reveal themselves. (And now that I’ve listened to the album I can confirm that’s the case.) Gerry Love’s Save is intriguing, its verse based on a mildly exotic semi-tone chord change, its chorus a sweet soul stomp. Judging by some of the weird and wobbly guitar sounds Raymond McGinlay unveils tonight, the Fannies have been studying their Joe Meek records for retro-futuristic sci-fi sounds. There are almost Moog like beams of guitar on It’s All In My Mind and some far-out space-surfin’ twangs elsewhere.
A rousing Don’t Look Back ends the main set, but Norman admits they’ll be back for an encore. Of course! For that encore they go right back to Everything Flows. With the grungey noise of Dinosaur Jr and the melodic lightness of the Byrds it remains an incredible song. McGinlay is a king on guitar, his scorched solos starting somewhere between Neil Young and J Mascis and ending up on Saturn. They find time for a brief blast through Satan before the curfew and that’s it. A triumphant return. You can hardly blame people for getting up out of their seats.

Photos to follow in a few days...

1 comment:

fredrik said...

fantastic news ! and you got to keep your ears open for NOM aswell! Its the new band from Superstar-Joe. Also amazing stuff.