What better way to make your weekend last that little bit longer than to go and watch a bit of live music on a Sunday evening? Coincidentally, last Sunday marked the quarter-century almost to the very day since the release of Teenage Fanclub’s magnificent breakthrough album Bandwagonesque.
Having previously interviewed Raymond McGinley for Plus One, I know he was evidently thrilled to still be in a band that had existed through four different decades, continuing to create such loyalty amongst its fan base that they were still selling out shows following a 6-year hiatus from touring. Not surprisingly, the Stylus is as packed as I’ve ever seen it although with a largely male audience that does present some challenges regarding securing a decent view!
Despite this, everyone seems in ebullient mood as the Fannies’ core trio of Ray McGinley, Norman Blake and Gerard Love take to the stage with drummer Francis MacDonald and Dave McGowan on keys, getting things underway with Blake’s ‘Start Again’ then Love’s ‘Sometimes I Don’t Believe in Anything’ followed by a McGinley’s composition from the band’s new album ‘Hold On,’ each taking lead vocal in turn. The band’s strength and depth in terms of song writing is probably one of the reasons they’ve endured, ensuring there’s not over-reliance from one single band member for new material, combined with the seasoned songwriter expertise of each individual helping the collaborative effort of putting the finishing touches to every new track, guaranteeing the quality remains high.
Tonight’s Stylus atmosphere is not really one of rock and roll excess either, more like the audience collectively slipping into a comfortable pair of old but much loved trainers enjoying their familiar feel; and in light of the turbulent year we’ve all had, that’s probably just what the doctor ordered.
More classics fly by including ‘Verisimilitude’, ‘I Don’t Want Control of You’ and ’Don’t Look Back’ rubbing shoulders with great new material from ‘Here’ including ‘The Darkest Part of the Night’ ‘I’m in Love’ not forgetting the sublime ‘I Have Nothing More To Say’ proving beyond doubt the Bellshill Boys are ageing like a fine single malt.
Barring the omission of a couple of personal favourites (‘Mellow Doubt’ and ‘Going Paces’ if anyone’s asking) the cracking set list is packed full of their finest beautifully crafted no-frills indie-pop nuggets, culminating for the first time with ‘The Concept’, the Fannies returning for another brace before ending as they always do with their debut single ‘Everything Flows’.