Wednesday, 2 June 2010

470 TEENAGE FANCLUB, Suckle, Bristol University Anson Rooms, Wednesday 7 November 2000

Amazingly, I'd not seen Teenage Fanclub for 7 years, and only a total of twice before tonight, a surprise given they're one of my most obvious musical reference points (let's face it, all an NME "On" piece on a new band has to do to get me scuttling off to the record shops is to write, "sounds like Teenage Fanclub"). So, slightly humbly, I got Rachel and Peej and trundled down a sodden M4 for this one. Got there in time for support Suckle, and wished we hadn't bothered. A veritable troupe of 6th formers greeted us onstage, and proceeded to play dreary and tuneless tripe, which resembled medieval folk songs. Sorry to state the obvious, but Suckle sucked!

Listened to most of their set from the safety of the lobby, chatting to old Bristol gig buddy Tim Lezard. But we decamped to the front, stage right, for the entrance of the Fannies at 9.15. They sauntered casually onstage and kicked off a set of their trademark chunky feelgood melodies, 60's influenced guitar dynamics and West coast lush harmonies. The only real problem I had, as the set washed over me like Californian surf and coated me with honey, was my relative unfamiliarity with the older album material. I can't blame Teenage Fanclub for playing what the hell they wanted to play; they're a cult band who are playing exactly the same venues as 7 years previously (probably to exactly the same people!) and aren't going to get any bigger, or smaller, popularity wise, in a hurry. I just wished they'd played some better-known stuff, that's all.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed their set; quite apart from the lush, relaxing music, their charm shone through as they slipped up on more than a couple of song introductions. And the chiming chords of "Ain't That Enough" and blissed out harmonies of "Mellow Doubt" stood out.

The encores, however, were utterly superb! The raucous "Radio" kicked off a moshpit, and absorbing first single "Everything Flows" followed seamlessly. The real delight, however, was "Sparky's Dream", as captivating "live" as on record. So, great to see them after so long, but next time I might do some listening homework before catching them again!

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