Ah a sunny night in Glasgow, soundtracked by the sweet harmonies, chiming guitars and the stunning melodies that only Teenage Fanclub can create.
The night started with a pint in the State Bar where I met Lynn, Ian and Lorna before heading along Sauchiehall Street to Nanakusa for some lovely Asian cuisine. We then popped into the Variety Bar for a beer on the way to the ABC only to find Teenage Fanclub keyboard player and slide guitar wizard Dave McGowan at the bar. So at least we knew we wouldn't miss the band!
We did leave shortly after Dave and got the venue for 8.15pm. The hall filled up quickly and before you knew it, just as Ian and I were being served our second beers, the band came on and launched into old fave 'Start Again'.
There were smiles all round and after a Norman song we immediately had a Gerry song, the opener off the new album 'Sometimes I Don't Need To Believe In Anything' before Raymond played 'The Fall'. Gerry's song in particular had a lovely laid back feel to it that suited the summer night.
The Fanclub looked relaxed and Norman joked when he couldn't tune his guitar, eventually giving up and taking another one. The crowd laughed with him, the Fanclub create that kind of vibe. 'It's All In My Mind' was next, it's driving rhythm bringing cheers before Gerry topped that with the classic 'Don't Look Back' off the Grand Prix album.
'Baby Lee' is the first single off of Shadows and it must have received more radio play than any Fanclub single in quite some time. Having seen Norman play solo around Glasgow on a few occasions over the last 18-months, this was a song he played time and time again - he is obviously proud of it and rightly so. The chiming guitars are the Fanclub at their best and from the lyrics (for this and all Norman's songs on the album) he is clearly very much in love.
I'm enchanted, I've fallen under your spell,
How can I resist when you cast them so well,
Baby Lee I'm always trying to remind you,
They had me in mind oh yeah when they designed you,
And baby Lee I'm always watching from a distance,
Oh marry marry me oh baby now I am insisting
Raymond was up next with one of his best, 'Can't Feel My Soul' off of Songs From Northern Britain. I can't remember the Fanclub playing this one live before and it was a real treat. Raymond's guitar playing throughout the gig was impeccable and it was particularly good during this tune.
The next run of songs was a real treat as the Fanclub rolled out long loved tunes alongside more tracks off the new album. Everyone sang along to 'I Don't Want Control Of You' with grins like cheshire cats, Norman brought out his glockenspiel for 'Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From' (Raymond's 'Something') and 'Ain't That Enough' was the perfect song for a sunny summery day in Glasgow.
'Sweet Days Waiting' off the new album is one of my current favourites with a lovely instrumental outro, with Dave McGowan highlighting his skills on the pedal steel guitar.
'The Concept' still sounds fresh and new song 'When I Still Have Thee' is surely destined to be a fan fave for many years to come. Another love song from Norman with an infectious melody - that won't be the first or last time anyone has said that!
'Sparky's Dream' promoted some pogo-ing before a great encore containing 'I Need Direction' - prompting ba-ba-ba-ba's from the crowd and a ferocious 'Everything Flows'. I think it must be 20-years since the Fanclub released their debut single yet they still attach it with a youthful joy that brings something new to it every time they play it.
There was just enough time for a surprise second encore of 'Starsign'.
A great night. It is 17-years since I first caught the Fanclub and I feel lucky to have a band that have soundtracked those years and will soundtrack many more years to come.
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