Teenage Fanclub have consistently toured over the last few years, and have maintained a strong fan base, nowhere more so, it seems, than this Wednesday evening in Leeds.
This time around, the Scottish alternative rock band are supporting their latest album Nothing Lasts Forever, a title somewhat belied by their continued presence on the road, some 34 years after their formation in Glasgow.
As they took the stage, there’s a respectful, almost reverant applause from the Brudenell faithful. Norman Blake, on lead vocal, looks delighted to be out front in the near-sold out Main Room. As with many before him, he tells us how they’ve enjoyed the pies on offer here, which I’m sure were welcome after the long road trip from Scotland earlier in the day.
They kick off with new material – Tired of Being Alone. Admittedly, not the most upbeat start, but what is evident straight away is the resilience of their signature sound, tight, 60s style harmonies warming up the cold Leeds night.
They play 5 of the 10 tracks on the new album, and they’re through those before the middle of the set. It means that from that point on, there are some more familiar fan favourites. What You Do To Me remains a standout track (from their 1991 album Bandwagonesque). Everything’s Falling Apart offers a more insistent drumbeat, making sure the momentum doesn’t drop.
It’s a Bad World – from their 1997 Songs From Northern Britain album – gets an appreciative cheer, as the older, classic back catalogue gets a run out. Again, there’s a beautiful 3 part harmony here alongside a wicked distorted guitar solo from Raymond McGinley.
The well crafted set, accelerating as it goes on with I’m in Love in particular bringing the energy right up as the set nears it’s end. The Concept spurs the biggest singalong of the night as the (theoretically!) last song of the night. Despite trailing the encore routine, the crowd don’t take any chances and join in with this one like it might actually be the final song of the night. They take this to a beautifully indulgent crescendo before briefly leaving the stage, then returning to a rapturous response.
The songs and performance have aged well since the peak of the 1990s. But then they always had that timeless quality to them, drawing on inspiration from The Beatles and the Beach Boys, but still making it sound fresh. So, despite the title of the new album, maybe some things do just stay the same.