Thursday, November 25, 2010

Teenage Fanclub Live – Larger Than Life

My musical relationship to Teenage Fanclub has been renewed. I feel like a whole new TFC fan – a lot more devoted one. More deeply charmed by the magic of the Bellshill Beach Boys than ever!

It is such an amazing thing to get Teenage Fanclub to Finland only a few weeks after the Posies paid a visit to this distant land. It is a real privilege... Besides, it never ceases to amaze me to actually see other people – lots of people – coming to see bands that I like really much. It is not all that common for me, you know... I have seen near-deserted clubs so many times. Although it is very difficult to be certain of it, experiences like witnessing one's favorite band with hundreds of other people might have some unexpected, positive effects on one's subconscious. I like to think that it does.

After traveling to Helsinki by train, arriving at Nosturi, and listening to Finnish warm-up act Delay Trees play a nice set, it was inevitable that I was going to see one of my all-time biggest favorites alive in front of me – for the first time.

Soon the gig started. There they were... Norman Blake, the most talkative guy, rhythm guitarist, a sort of lead character who was smiling sunnily almost all the time. Raymond McGinley, the absolutely sympathetic guy on the left who delighted the audience with his riffs and guitar solos. Gerry Love, the more serious-looking bass player, but still the sweetest-sounding guy of the entire band. Drummer Francis Macdonald, the current provider of the loveable TFC beats. Keyboardist/guitarist, multi-instrumentalist David McGowan. Together these guys made the Teenage Fanclub experience come alive.

It was amazing to see these people and what they look like while playing these songs. I have always thought that TFC has its very own special style that I respect deeply... Seeing TFC live felt almost like a pilgrimage, with the difference that the band came to Finland, instead of me going abroad to see the band.

The first song was Start Again. I was very impressed: only Norman and Gerry were singing but the sound was incredibly rich... Bang! The huge vocal talent of TFC suddenly became so clear to me that it was quite overwhelming. What an unforgettable moment! The current TFC line-up includes five guys, all of whom sing harmony vocals. Luckily most of the gig was very well mixed and the harmonies could be heard quite nicely.

Some of the most wonderful songs of the set were Sweet Days Waiting and When I Still Have Thee – both were songs from the new album (Shadows) and really fresh and new to me, who hadn't listened to them very much yet... I was also very charmed by I Need Direction, I Don't Want Control of You, It's All in My Mind, Verisimilitude, Don't Look Back, Sparky's Dream, and all the other classics! The gig was concluded with a great version of Everything Flows, as usual.

The warm atmosphere during the gig was, after all, just the beginning... During the next days after the gig I listened to a lot of TFC, mostly Songs from Northern Britain, and also other albums... I felt things I hadn't felt before this much: new, wonderful, warm feelings, as well as understanding. When I started listening to TFC years ago, I was generally quite new to pop/rock music.. or any kind of music. Since then I have introduced myself to many different types of music and therefore it is now much easier to see TFC in the context of power pop, or pop, rock, or any other music in general. Now I understand why some people regard TFC as the best pop band in the world. The people who don't appreciate TFC much... They just haven't been enlightened yet!

By the way... How I have missed listening to sweet power pop! I looked at my mp3 player and noticed there were practically only about ten power pop bands there. That is not much for a person like me, you know... Moments like this remind me of the fact that even though I don't wish to consider any specific music genres/styles better than others, I do like to amuse myself by placing sweet power pop above everything else. In a way I really think about power pop as my favorite music attribute. There is something very special about the combination of those features that tend to be present in the music called “power pop” by many people. Power pop often is sweet... I like sweet vocalists, most definitely I like sweet-sounding guys, who play sweet music with sweet sounds. I want more sweet guys into my life!

What a speech... Also, this might not really be the end of the subject ”TFC and me”. So, beware!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello! Nice, heartfelt write-up. I bought Bandwagonesque when it came out but lost track of TFC after that, only to "re-discover" them last year. So much to listen to, it's been the highlight of 2011 and on for me.

Haven't seen them live yet, but hopefully we will see a new album and tour in the next few years. Meanwhile I love listening to all their recordings/YouTube videos, offshoots and relations such as Jonny and BMX Bandits, plus lots more music, including power pop from all over the world. Look forward to reading more of your posts.
-Andrea in San Francisco