It’s been twelve long years since Scottish indie legends Teenage Fanclub graced Australian audiences with their power popping presence, and the air hangs thick with anticipation as a solid crowd of 90’s throwbacks mingle with a gaggle of youthful converts on this Wednesday night at The Triffid.
First up though it’s the turn of fresh faced Brisbane three piece The Goon Sax to captivate with their delightful amalgamation of stripped back, jangle pop smarts and plaintive vocals, delivering idiosyncratically lovelorn teen musings. I’m immediately struck by the band’s uncanny channeling of embryonic Go Betweens, and the guy next to me throws early Wedding Present into the mix by way of sonic comparison. Perhaps it’s not too surprising when I discover after their set that one Louis Forster, son of Go Betweens founder Robert Forster, plays in the band. I make a note to collect a copy of their debut record, Up To Anything, at the end of the night, always a sure sign that a support act have seriously hit the mark.
Then it’s the turn of Teenage Fanclub to step forth and wow all present with a two hour set of pristinely perfect, melodic pop with crunch from across their back catalogue of 25 plus years. The band roll out of the blocks with the solidly dependable Start Again, from 2002 record Songs From Northern Britain.
With three exemplary songwriters in the band, track selections across the evening rotate seamlessly between the talented triumvirate of the jaunty Norman Blake, distinguished lead guitarist Raymond McGinley and bassist Gerald Love. McGinley’s chimingly memorable Verisimilitude, from much loved 1995 album Grand Prix, is followed by the insistent uplift of Blake’s It All In My Mind, from the Man Made album that followed 10 years after. Meanwhile fan fave, the Love penned Sparky’s Dream, elicits smiles and singalongs in equal measure. While the conclusion to Don’t Look Back sees all 5 band members jointly harmonizing to spine tingling perfection as the song lifts into the stratosphere.
Newest record Here gets a solid airing throughout the set, with The Darkest Part Of The Night proving perhaps the worthiest addition to the ranks of TFC classics.
The band finish their main set with an inspired reading of The Concept, the opening track of high watermark record Bandwagonesque. Containing the immortal line, “She says she don’t do drugs, but she does the pill”, the song rollicks and rolls before drifting heavenward on the back of the bands swoon worthy harmonizing.
The band return with a final epic blitz, including the indie pop perfection of Star Sign, and a touching tribute to Brisbane’s musical heritage with a reading of Grant McLennan number Easy Come Easy Go.
They go out with their debut 1989 single Everything Flows, harkening back to a time when the lads were equally in thrall of noisy US fare as they were of Big Star. As the track unwinds, unbridled joy is etched on the faces of all bearing witness to the band’s classic perfection. Let’s hope it’s not another 12 years before they grace us with a return dose of their unique charm.