Friday, 8 January 2010

659 TEENAGE FANCLUB, Lucky Luke, Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, Saturday 14 May 2005

We thought for one horrible moment that we'd "lost" the Fanclub, what with a "Greatest Hits" CD release and 4 years of inactivity. But they're back with new, very mellow indeed CD in tow, so the subsequent tour warranted a 2 car convoy from Swindon to Pompey on a sunny Saturday! Got there just after 8 and got the drinks in, in the small Wedgewood Rooms bar, staying in while Lucky Luke were on, as they were a horribly hackneyed boy/girl folky fiddly diddly band.

We left the bar just before 10, and the Fannies duly arrived at the appointed hour. Their set largely reflected the new CD - low-key, mellowed out and understated (particularly Norman's vocals!), relying on good old fashioned virtues like songcraft, musicianship, melody and harmony (of which TFC have always been genre-defining exponents). The problem was that this meant we could hear the hubbub of the crowd during the numbers, so Rach and I had to constantly shift around to make sure we heard them clearly!

Up to a point, the set was paradoxically enjoyably yet frustratingly mellow. Lovely moments such as "I Need Direction" and the gorgeously harmonic "Ain't That Enough" carried things though the set, but the attention wavered during the newer, unfamiliar numbers. However, into the encore and just as we were resigned to hearing only a smattering of older stuff, the picture changed dramatically with the 4th number in the first encore, "The Concept", which got us jumping and forming a moshpit! This was followed by a brilliant "Sparky's Dream" but better yet was to come; a totally unexpected second encore yielded a stonking and rocking "Star Sign" the strident riffs of my favourite single of 1991 getting me dancing, and a final jumpathon of "Everything Flows", the debut single, partying like it was 1989 and rounding off the best final 4 numbers of a set for ages. If the rest of the set had matched this, we'd probably be talking Gig Of The Year...

But hey, it was enough to get me into a mosh for the first time in yonks, and draw odd glances from Pompey residents as I walked, shirtless, back to the car! Welcome back, Teenage Fanclub!

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