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torsdag den 18. april 2019

Teenage Fanclub p.t.

I august sidste år meddelte bassist/sangskriver Gerard Love, der var med til at danne Teenage Fanclub hjemme i Bellshill, seksten kilometer udenfor Glasgow, i 1989, at han ville forlade bandet, efter de havde spillet en række shows i Storbritannien. Koncerterne var et led i markeringen af genudgivelserne af gruppens fem lp’er på Creation Records., ’Bandwagonesque’, ’Thirteen’, ’Grand Prix’, ’Songs From Northern Britain’ og ’Howdy!’ Eller som Love selv sagde det, ”I didn’t leave the group and I wasn’t kicked out”. Men hvorfor gik de så hvert til sit? Det korte af det lange er, at det ikke huede Love, at Fannies skulle på en lang og udmattende tour i de første måneder af 2019, der indbefattede Hong Kong, Japan, Australien og New Zealand, for så i samme åndedrag at tage Nordamerika og Europa med. Han orkede ikke de alenlange flyrejser. I adskillige af de liveanmeldelser jeg har læst fra Australien og New Zealand var det et mærket band, der spillede. Flere af medlemmer var ramt af influenza, hvilket medførte mere eller mindre amputerede koncerter, ifølge kritikken, vel at mærke. For lige at vende tilbage Gerard Love, så håber jeg, at han vil fortsætte med at lave musik, hans soloudgivelse med Lightships, ’Electric Cables’, fra 2012 er decideret fremragende.

Jeg har ikke tal på de gange, jeg har hørt Fannies live. Når de spiller i Lille Vega nu på torsdag, d. 25. april, bliver det første gang uden Gerard Love. Han er blevet erstattet af Dave McGowan, der tidligere har spillet på keyboard og guitar med gruppen, men nu tager sig af bassen. Derudover er besætningen sangskriverne/guitaristerne Norman Blake og Raymond McGinley, der har været med siden Bellshill-dagene, trommeslager Francis MacDonald, der også har spillet med BMX Bandits og The Pastels, samt den nytilkommende keyboardspiller Euros Childs, som mange vil kende fra det walisiske band Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.

Det blev en lang indledning. Mit ærinde var egentlig bare ganske kort at kopiere og indsætte tekstbidder fra anmeldelser af Teenage Fanclubs shows på den igangværende turne:

“In a set that sprinkled fan faves with rarities and B-sides, the bulk of the songs were rhythm guitarist Norman Blake's. They ranged from the very recent – from 2016's Here album came I’m In Love, a fast-paced pop song with the makings of a stadium anthem – to the very old: the final song pre-encore was Everything Flows, the band's 1989 debut single, with shades of Dinosaur Jr in the intro and a long guitar duel in the outro. It has aged beautifully.”

“Yes, Blake’s charming, self-effacing banter helped make the evening go down easier…at one point he threatened to serenade the crowd with a medley of Leo Sayer’s hits…but it’s the celebrated songs of Teenage Fanclub that is the reason we are here, and there were plenty of them.

The band touched on every one of their studio album, even premiering a new tune titled Everything Is Falling Apart, which Blake told us was part of a recent recording session that took place in Hamburg. Good to see that the band is getting right back on the horse after the loss of Gerard.”

“Teenage Fanclub played a number of songs from 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain. These included “I Don’t Want Control of You,” “Planets” and a beautiful rendition of “Your Love is the Place I Come From,” which featured Blake swapping out his guitar for a small xylophone.

The crowd erupted with applause at the opening chords of fan favorite “Verisimilitude,” which did not disappoint with McGinley’s gentle vocals set against Blake’s giant distorted chords. The band also played a couple songs from its most recent full-length album, 2016’s Here. These included “Hold On,” with tasty synth lines, and “I’m in Love Here.” These later songs demonstrated maturity and musical mastery supplanting the youthful exuberance of their early material.”

“Just after 9:00pm the one and only Teenage Fanclub hit the stage. The group opened up with their song “About You” and immediately got the crowd jiving with them. A few songs in they started talking about how they were going to be putting out a new album soon that they recorded in Berlin. Then they went into their new single “Everything is Falling Apart”. Throughout the night Teenage Fanclub played a wide span of material from all over their career such as: Alcoholiday, Catholic Education, Planets, Hold On, and I’m in Love. They closed their main set with their biggest hit “The Concept”. Seeing that song live was worth the price of admission and had the crowd cheering and singing with every word. For their encore Teenage Fanclub busted out “The Fall” and their first every single “Everything Flows” to close out the show. It was an absolutely incredible way to end the night. With singing and cheering Teenage Fanclub left Minneapolis with way more than we could ask for.”

“Of course, the set list omitted any Love compositions, respectfully, but there was careful consideration taken to appease those fans who weren't sure if they could pull this off. McGinley went with "It's A Bad World," "Verisimilitude" and "Your Love Is the Place Where I Come From," featuring Blake on glockenspiel," while Blake chose "Planets," "I'm In Love" and duetted with MacDonald on "I Don't Want Control of You."

After announcing the encore, in which "we'll do the pretend-to-go-off thing," they got the loudest cheer of the night as they launched into the Bandwagonesque favourite, "The Concept." By this point Blake's voice was getting a little scratchy, but thanks to the crowd joining in, it was hardly noticeable.

One 30-second encore and Blake came out with his million-dollar smile, acknowledging how Toronto is practically a hometown show for him (he lives about an hour away in Kitchener-Waterloo). "Since we're in Canada we're gonna play a song by a Canadian artist Neil Young," he announced, as the band played Crazy Horse's "Don't Cry No Tears." Following that was "The Fall" from 2009's Shadows, which fell victim to some feedback issues. Bidding farewell by saying hi to his family and neighbours, Blake introduced fellow hometown hero Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), who came out strapped with a hollow body to help perform their signature closer and debut single, 1990's "Everything Flows," which had the crowd singing its chorus refrain till the end.”

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