Teenage Fanclub – Live, Leeds Cockpit

I didn’t know what to expect.

The first thing that hit me – after the initial shock of how grown-up and normal they looked – was just how many of their songs had somehow crept into my consciousness – and just how good they were.

I’d pretty much missed out on their mid-nineties prime, as I thought they sounded too much like The Byrds; I liked The Byrds, but I really didn’t need another version. All these years later that seems so much less important than just taking the music at face value. Songs like “I Need Direction”, “Sparky’s Dream”, “Everything Flows”… they come out of the past and rekindle not just a nostalgia, but a sense of freshness, space, and possibility.

They’ve a new album out, Shadows, and they interspaced tracks from this amongst the old stuff with commendable aplomb – and to my ears the new numbers pretty much stood the test. Despite half-joking calls from the crowd to “turn it up”, quality was never sacrificed for raw volume – and a good thing too, because The Cockpit can sound horrendous. Tonight, every vocal harmony, fluid bass run, and shimmering, soaring, guitar was crystal .

The place was hot and ram-packed, and the music filled all the space that was left. Many of those around me seemed utterly transported – they sang and danced along to everything with the (drunken) abandon of the devoted.

In some ways it was not so much a gig as a pure celebration – nobody had anything to prove, everyone was here, band and crowd alike, because they wanted to play, hear and feel this music that had in some way touched their lives. And sometimes, as the man so eloquently put it, “Ain’t that Enough”?

By Eric on June 7, 2010


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  1. With a few gigs on the cards and a new album, Teenage Fanclub are back! Bandwagonesque from the mid nineties is an absolute belter of a record, and looking forward to seeing them at the Wickerman festival in Scotland!

    Comment by Tom — June 22, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

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