Superhero Songwriters

Teenage Fanclub / Zoey van Goey / We Were Promised Jetpacks – Fat Sam’s Live, 27th October 2008

We Were Promised Jetpacks

Myself and Teenage Fanclub go back a long way but this is the first time I’ve paid to see them as headliners since the early 1990s. In fact I don’t think I’ve bought a Fanclub LP in 10 years, largely because once they’d shaken off their early grunge influences, I started to find the records a bit predictable. But the chance to see them again playing with We Were Promised Jetpacks in support was too good an opportunity to miss.

Given that they’d been getting second billing in the pre-gig publicity, it was a surprise when Jetpacks were first on stage at about 8pm. The crowd was undoubtedly less than they would have hoped for but if they were bothered by it, it didn’t show in the performance.

It was a typically energetic performance and it seems that the Jetpacks are now two thirds of a way towards a third generation set. Only ‘Ships With Holes Sink’ and the mighty ‘Quiet Little Voices’ survive from last year’s set and there’s no room for either ‘Moving Clocks Run Slow’ or ‘Let’s Call This A Map’.

Despite their dazzling growth in the last couple of years there’s no sign of their ambition being limited as they prepare to record their debut LP. In fact, whilst the newer songs remain recognisably WWPJ, they just seem to ignore conventional boundaries and come up with something different every time. That’s best illustrated perhaps by opener ‘Keep Warm’ with its extended intro and abrupt time change. An all too brief 6 song set ended with the aforementioned ‘Quiet Little Voices’.

Zoey van Goey

Since I last saw Zoey van Goey they seem to have acquired a bass player in a De Rosa t-shirt, which can’t be a bad thing but they surprise me a little with their opening tune, a thoughtful folky number. Their fun side however doesn’t remain in check for long and the remainder of the set is much more how I remember them from last year – bright, perky pop music. The between song banter (principally a story told in serial form involving drunken student super heros) fits in perfectly with the music. As a live experience I think they’re good fun, but I’m not sure that the records wouldn’t be a little twee for my tastes.

Teenage Fanclub

The headliners’ set made a particularly strong case for Teenage Fanclub as one of Scotland’s finest guitar pop bands. The songs throughout were superb and I was a little surprised that a) I knew more than ¾ of the tunes and b) that I could identify the LPs they’re taken from without thinking despite not listening to many of the records in recent years.

If there’s a criticism then it was that the set felt a little one paced although the introduction of the likes of ‘Sparky’s Dream’ and ‘Radio’ in mid-set, did give the whole show a welcome boost. But overall it’s an excellent show to complete a good evening.

If there’s a finer song in the Fanclub back catalogue than this next one, which was the highlight last night, then I’ve yet to hear it:

Teenage Fanclub – Alcoholiday (from ‘Bandwagonesque’)[Buy the CD] [Download the CD]

8 Comments

  1. Andy Wood says:

    That was a great gig. First time I’d seen Zoey Van Goey and I thought they were brilliant. Really enjoyed TFC, the seventh time I’ve seen them but the first for over a decade. First time they played Dundee I put them on in the old Westport Bar and it cost the princely sum of 1.50. Missed most of We Were Promised Jetpacks due to my inability to read a bus timetable but hopefully I’ll catch ’em soon.

  2. hi Andy

    It was a good show. I’m starting to think favourably about Fat Sams Live because the 3 shows I’ve seen in the last month have all been excellent.

    Was the Westport gig around the time Everything Flows came out? I remember buying the single one Saturday in Our Price and they were playing that night in Dundee. But I didn’t go!

  3. Ed says:

    Have seen TFC a few times since I moved to Scotland. Still a great live act, but think last really classic album was Grand Prix, after which they seem to have been repeatingly themselves a little. However, always interested to hear a new fanclub album and they are excellent live.

  4. Not a lot to disagree with there, Ed. I do feel that they’ve mellowed slightly live over the last, er, 16 or 17 years!

  5. Andy Wood says:

    It was in deed around the time of the release of ‘Everything Flows’. I remember being really excited as I thought the gig would never happen. Three or four of us did a monthly night in the Westport Bar and I’d asked them to play after seeing ’em support Primal Scream in Moray House, Edinburgh. Then things got a bit crazy with a Sounds front cover etc and I thought, ah well, that’s that, as we’d had to reschedule a couple of times due to the band suddenly finding themselves being overwhelmed with other commitments. But, true gentlemen they are, we sorted a date, and they were wonderful. The Westport was packed well beyond capacity. Funnily enough, the support that night were Dundee’s Hate Foundation, whose singer guitarist worked in Our Price. Perhaps he sold you your copy of the single?

    That was my first trip to Fat Sams live. I liked it though the bar prices are rather scary…

    1. Jim Caithness says:

      Hi Andy

      I was listening to The School today and it took me back to some happy times and twee bands. Made me wonder how I managed to lose touch with you. Anyway, did a search and this seemed like a good place to find you. I remember TFC in the West Port Bar and Moray House well. I’ll never forget Brendan getting cramp mid-song and hopping around the stage repeatedly shouting “Ah ye fu##er”. I’m keen to catch up with you again so give me a shout – might be worth going through Facebook if you’re on there.

      Cheers

      Jim

  6. Must be the same gig – it was one of these I wished I’d taken a chance on going. Don’t remember though who sold me the single!

  7. Neda Manche says:

    Lawl I just noticed, you have the same name as I do. We both think the same way. Anyway, I’ve been stopping over your homepage lately especially when I’m bored and have nothing to do .

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