A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Teenage Fanclub, Shepherd's Bush Empire, 08/06/10

I was at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night to see Teenage Fanclub. I think it was the 13th time I have seen them. I was sitting in the front row of Level 1 with my gig buddy (and fellow Teenage Fanclub enthusiast) Jon Paul. It was a great gig, as usual. I should really say up front that they are officially my favourite band and as a result won’t really be able to give an objective ‘review’ in the usual way I would.

Before the gig I tweeted on the songs I would really like to have heard – 'Neil Jung', 'Radio', 'The Concept', 'Alcoholiday', 'Slow Fade' & 'Accidental Life' (I could have gone on if it wasn’t for the 140 character tweet limit). We only got one of those songs, but it seems a little silly to complain. Seeing them so many times does bring a strong sense of familiarity and sometimes I would like them to maybe play some different songs to those they usually play from ‘Grand Prix’ and ‘Songs From Northern Britain’ – ‘Mellow Doubt’ and ‘Neil Jung’ in particular. On a different subject, I think I should also say how much I adore ‘Slow Fade’. Would love to hear that live again. One of Norman’s best I think. Just perfect in every way. Just like ‘Sparky’s Dream’ I guess. I suddenly feel the urge to do a list of my Top 10 Teenage Fanclub tracks….

Jon Paul and myself discussed how it would be good to see them do one (or both) of these albums live as part of the Don’t Look Back series. I saw them play ‘Bandwagonesque’ a few years ago at the Kentish Town Forum which was great. I often look back to previous TFC gigs at venues like the (sadly no more) Astoria and Scala with misty-eyed nostalgia at the sheer excitement they inspired in me. I still love seeing them play live and will always continue to see them whenever they are in London but I don’t think I will ever recapture the feeling of those early gigs.

Anyway, back to the gig. I thought the sound started a little ‘foggy’ but soon improved. They did 7 songs from the new album ‘Shadows’, 5 songs from ‘Songs From Northern Britain’, 4 songs from ‘Grand Prix’ and one each from ‘Bandwagonesque’, ‘Howdy’, ‘Man-Made’ and ‘Catholic Education’. Nothing from ‘Thirteen’ unfortunately. ‘The Concept’ was the full length version and was the highlight of the show for me.

The set went like this:

Start Again
Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything
The Past
It's All In My Mind
Don't Look Back
Baby Lee
Shock and Awe
I Don't Want Control of You
About You
Sweet Days Waiting
Your Love is the Place I Come from
The Concept
Ain't That Enough
When I Still Have Thee
Sparky's Dream

Can't Feel My Soul
I Need Direction
Today Never Ends
Everything Flows

I can’t really say much more than that really. I love them (both as a band and as individual members) and their songs and their lyrics. Some really beautiful themes – love and relationships, male vulnerability, time, memories, life.

OK, here is that Top 10 Teenage Fanclub Songs that I alluded to earlier….(as always, if you asked me to do this again in a few weeks it would probably be different….and may even include some songs off ‘Shadows’)

1 ‘Sparky’s Dream’
2 ‘The Concept’
3 ‘Neil Jung’
4 ‘Slow Fade’
5 ‘Alcoholiday’
6 ‘Mellow Doubt’
7 ‘Ain’t That Enough’
8 ‘I Don’t Want Control Of You’
9 ‘Radio’
10 ‘Broken’

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