Tuesday, July 25, 2006


What a great weekend! In this stifling heat, it was good to get away to coastal Wales (for the Aberystwyth Arts Festival), where it was still ridiculously hot, but with the added benefit of a refreshing sea breeze. It all helped clear the head after a mildly depressing couple of weeks. The long drive through the Welsh hills and valleys was particularly enjoyable too, listening to the Pipettes, Camera Obscura, Scritti Politti and Tom Petty's surprisingly agreeable new album.

The long weekend was topped off with a dependably brilliant Teenage Fanclub gig at the Forum last night. I've probably written all I can about the pure pop genius of this band, so I don't need to add much here, other than that they played 'Bandwagonesque' in its entirety, with Brendan O'Hare back behind the kit, his unpredictable surrealist comic genius still intact (he played much of the set with no trousers on). This of course meant plenty of songs we never hear from the Fannies these days - 'Metal Baby', 'Pet Rock', 'December', 'Guiding Star' and a first-ever performance of the Goal of the Month soundtracking 'Is This Music?' set hilariously to rudimentary drum machine. 'There's been much debate over who has been the best drummer in Teenage Fanclub', says O'Hare gleefully. 'Now we have the defininitive answer - it's the drumulator! Keeps time! All the time!'. Of course, the first thing it did was to fail to work. Throughout, balding men in their mid to late forties are actively moshing, crowd-surfing and bellowing at the top of their voices. Quite bizarre, and very sweaty.

There's a short break before an additional 45 minute 'greatest misses' set full of favourites 'About You', 'I Don't Want Control Of You', 'Don't Look Back', 'Mellow Doubt' and the rest, including some technical hitches with a glockenspiel on 'Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From'. The middle aged men are replaced by some indie boys (are TFC really picking up new fans now?) . Whilst the atmoshere initially deflates somewhat, it's back to the unexpected energy by the closing numbers. Quite wonderful and some strong competition for Bruce Springsteen as the gig of the year so far.

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