Saturday night, a warm autumnal eve, on a long weekend and the punters are wired in anticipation of the sold out Teenage Fanclub show at the beloved Corner. The “Fannies” inspire the kind of adulation reserved for deities, and deservedly so. This Glaswegian quintet are masters of catchy pop songs, three part harmonies and jangly guitar driven pop songs over their 28 year history.
“Melbourne on a Saturday night. What could possibly go wrong?” asks Norman Blake with tongue firmly in cheek. The 2017 tour showcases their latest album Here but the majority of their set spans their near 30 year history of hits and crowd favourites. Opening with “Start Again” from 97’s Songs from Northern Britain stalwarts and founding members Norman Blake, Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley wow the audience with their beautiful three part harmonies supported by original drummer Francis MacDonald and newer member Dave McGowan on keys.
Guitar driven classic “Radio” from Thirteen follows seeing fans bopping along. Slower paced “Hold On” from their latest album is well received by the discerning crowd, but pales in comparison to classic “I Don’t Want Control of You,” inciting a mass sing along. New release “Thin Air” packs a punch, evoking the music of the Fannies of old.
Ever the comedian, Blake points out that he’s wearing a jumper, to hide a really bad t-shirt, then adds that he’s going to burn some calories. In true Aussie fashion, punters are screaming out for him to take the jumper off, but Blake sheepishly admits that he’s wearing a vest underneath his t-shirt.
Classic jangly guitar driven track “Verisimilitude” endears us to the Fannies a little more, followed by “It’s All in my Mind” and later highlight “I need Direction” led by Love.
“I’m about 500 calories in” Blake quips, inciting chuckles from the throng. “Your Love is the Place Where I Come From” proves a moving highlight sung by McGinley, while “Sparky’s Dream” care of Love, incites another sentimental singing match by the fans. “The Concept” draws the loudest screams from punters and is one of many favourites tonight.
Notably absent is “God Knows It’s True”, “What You do to me” and “Mellow Doubt”, and one can’t help but think the show overall is a little too mellow, lacking light and shade. “Star Sign” and “Everything Flows” their first single off their very first album A Catholic Education nearly makes up for any misgivings, the four guitars reverberating long after Teenage Fanclub have left the stage. It’s classic Fannies, and although not their best performance, these daggy dads have still got it after all these years.