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Teenage Fanclub – Glasgow Oran Mór

There are things in life we take for granted. There will always be weather going on outside. You will breathe in and out, unconsciously, until you don’t. There is water when you turn on the tap and electricity when you plug into the socket. We (in the West) are pampered, and occasionally we need to stop and smell the roses. Things we should be grateful for we are blasé about. It’s unbecoming.

This is what goes through my mind watching Teenage Fanclub on a balmy Saturday evening. They play for 90 minutes, and not a single one is wasted. The melodies they have crafted in their stellar near-two decade career have stood the test of time. From the simply awesome ‘Start Again’ to the heartcrushingly beautiful ‘I Don’t Want Control Of You’ to the spiky grungey garage of ‘Radio’, the set list is truly flawless. Yet are they anybodies favourite band? Do they cause the excitement and devotion other lesser bands do? I doubt it. And the reason is that they are just too consistent. The Fannies never let you down. Their worst album, ’13’, is merely good, it’s just not as good as the others. Live, they have always been about pleasing the crowd and enjoying themselves, thankfully two aims which have a shared purpose.

They may resemble a gang of Geography teachers on a night out these days but they have a back catalogue which is pretty much unmatched in these isles. ‘Sparky’s Dream’ is as good as anything Alex Chilton ever wrote, and you can’t give out praise much higher than that. As ‘Your Love is the Place Where I Come From’ shimmers majestically by and the band head towards the inevitable (and brilliant) ending of ‘Starsign’ and ‘Everything Flows’ it’s tough not to rue the unfairness of a world where Coldplay are unit-shifting monsters of rock and the Fannies, well, aren’t. Does being nice, uncomplicated blokes with an ability to write suites of stunning songs not get you anywhere? Do you have to have the obligatory back story of substance abuse, the celebrity partner, the smart mouth for good copy?

Then again, as they put it themselves in one of their great songs ‘Here is the sunrise; Ain’t That Enough?’ And they are right. As sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, Teenage Fanclub will continually make great records and perform superb shows to smaller audiences than they deserve, and they’ll do it with pleasure and think they are the luckiest guys in the world. And yes, in the end up, that IS enough.


9 Responses

  1. I was in a very poor band was I was 14 called The Tigers. ‘Radio’ was our opening tune. You can’t really fault the Fannies for sticking to what they do, and doing it best.

  2. Yeah, know what you mean, ELM. I think the Fannies suffered slightly from the post-Creation fallout. They kinda became something of an afterthought amongst the Oasis/ MBV/cocaine years.
    You’re right, they’ve never released a bad record, but DO suffer from being a bit too “nice”, I think. All “proper” rockstars should be a bit unapproachable, otherworldy and menacing to fulfill the young person criteria. Or alternatively a twat like chris martin. it’s been the law of diminishing returns for TFC since the mid 90’s, but to see them clearly enjoying playing, and each others company, is such a great thing. A band to make you proud to be Glaswegian.

  3. They do what they do and they do it brilliantly. They are a great wee pop band and they are so brilliantly lacking in pretension.

  4. They got a lot of stick circa Mellow Doubt for that enormous beard Norman grew. Quite a soft target, really.

  5. I remember when ‘Grand Prix’ came out – an awesome album – in 1994 it got lost between ‘Parklife’ and ‘Definitely Maybe’. As the Whippet said, they got lost in the Britpop/Creation shuffle.

  6. Having a band-name which can be trunkated to ” The Fannies” is ,in my humble opinion a negative career move.

    ” Grand Prix” ; see above.

  7. The Teen Fannies could be a lot worse.

  8. They are my favourite band.

  9. You have good taste sir!

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