Teenage Fanclub @ the Neptune Theatre (3/24/17)

[NOTE: This is the first post in my new Forgotten Concerts of 2017 series.  As the show took place last March, I have relied heavily on the handwritten journal entry I wrote back then.  In fact, I have pretty much copied it word-for-word.  This post was published on January 12th, 2018, but I have altered the date so that it fits in chronologically.]

Tonight’s the night Teenage Fanclub plays at the Neptune Theatre.  It’s a rainy morning and I’ve been up for about an hour.  Coffee, madeleines, puffins, etc.  I’m listening to Patty Duke.  Nothing gets me ready for a rock concert like Patty Duke.  It’s 8:32.

Beth got home at around 6:00.  We ate junk food for dinner and got ready for the show.  We headed off at 7:30, but stopped to get some cough drops on the way.  The Neptune’s doors opened at 8:00 and we arrived ten or fifteen minutes after that.  We still got front row balcony seats, though.

The opening act was Britta Phillips of the groups Dean & Britta and Luna.  She played a 9-song set mixing covers with original songs from her new solo album, Luck or Magic.  I thought she sounded a bit like Susanna Hoffs fronting the Velvet Underground.  Her husband Dean Wareham played guitar in her 3-piece band.  He helped out with some vocals, too.  They’re a very attractive older rock-n-roll couple.  I don’t know who I had a bigger crush on.  Probably Dean…he’s got amazing hair.  Either way, here’s the setlist:

Britta Phillips setlist: One Fine Summer Morning (Evie Sands) / Daydream / Fallin’ in Love (Dennis Wilson) / Million Dollar Doll / Ingrid Superstar / Night Nurse (Dean & Britta) / Tugboat (Galaxie 500) / I’ll Keep It With Mine (Bob Dylan) / Drive (the Cars)

The whole set was good.  I was especially happy to hear Dean Wareham sing my favorite Galaxie 500 song.  I also like how Britta Phillips started and ended her set with a ba-ba song.  That’s how you do it.

While I’m here writing out song titles, I guess I’ll write out Teenage Fanclub’s setlist.  Here it is:

Teenage Fanclub setlist: Start Again / Don’t Look Back / Hold On / I Don’t Want Control of You / Thin Air / Verisimilitude / It’s All in My Mind / The First Sight / About You / I Need Direction / The Darkest Part of the Night / Can’t Feel My Soul / Ain’t That Enough / I’m in Love / Sparky’s Dream / The Concept

Teenage Fanclub encore: I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive / Star Sign / Everything Flows

I’ll just get this out of the way: although Britta Phillips and her band sounded terrific, Teenage Fanclub’s sound was a bit murky in places with the vocals kind of overwhelmed by the guitars.  Still, this didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment.  Even with the sound issue, this was a great rock show.  It combined many of Teenage Fanclub’s biggest songs with a half dozen tunes from their latest release, last year’s Here.  It’s a tribute to the band’s consistency and the high quality of their songs that I really couldn’t tell what was new and what was old.  And Beth seemed to like it a lot, too.

The highlight for me, of course, was “I Need Direction”.  It’s my favorite Teenage Fanclub song and one of the quintessential ba-ba songs.  It was great to hear it live.  I was so jealous of the drummer who got to sing the ba-ba chorus.  I wanted to be that guy for those four minutes.  Other highlights included “The Concept”, “Start Again”, “Sparky’s Dream”, and “Star Sign”.  I’d never really noticed until tonight, but most of my favorite Teenage Fanclub songs are sung by the bassist, Gerard Love.  I always think of Norman Blake as the singer, but the songs are pretty evenly split between the three songwriters.

I should also mention “Can’t Feel My Soul” as a highlight.  I’m not all that familiar with the song, but the fifth guy, the keyboardist, took a break on that song and that really helped the sound issues I mentioned earlier.  The band sounded much better as a 4-piece.

The only song I didn’t care for was “I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive”.  It was the first song Teenage Fanclub played during the encore and it was a complete mood killer.  The song livened up at the end with the repeated “what are you gonna do about it?” part, but I noticed a lot of people checking their phones during the first few minutes of the song.  Not a good choice for an encore.

[NOTE: My journal entry ends rather abruptly with a mangled sentence that I’m not going to include here.  Instead, I’ll just say that this was a great show even if I did have a couple minor issues with the sound and song selection.  I consider myself lucky any time I’m able to catch up with one of my Scottish bands.  I never thought I’d get to see Teenage Fanclub in concert and I’m happy to be able to mark them off my list.  I was also impressed with Britta Phillips and need to track down that album of hers.]

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5 Responses to Teenage Fanclub @ the Neptune Theatre (3/24/17)

  1. Pingback: Bootleg Yeti and the State of Things |

  2. homebody says:

    I don’t remember what junk food we ate for dinner (Annie’s Bunnies maybe?), but I’m pretty sure we ate Twizzlers and drank Sprite at the show.

    It was a great show (murky sound and all) and I’m glad you came out for it and I’m glad you finally posted about it!

    • M-----l says:

      I don’t remember what we ate either. The fact that I called it “junk food” instead of being more specific is kind of unusual for me. Whatever it was, bunnies were probably a part of it. Maybe bunnies and Mi-Del ginger snaps with a block of cheese? Sounds pretty good to me.

      I’m happy that you enjoyed the concert. I knew you weren’t a fan of Bandwagonesque, so I was a little concerned going in.

  3. McPop says:

    I’m very jealous. Teenage Fanclub is one of my favorite bands and I’ve never seen them in concert. I agree many of their best songs are sung and written by Gerard Love including Sparky’s Dream, I Need Direction, Star Sign and Ain’t That Enough . Can’t remember if already mentioned on this blog, Lightships ‘Electric Cables’ is a side project by Gerry Love from a few years back and it is definitely worth a listen if you’re not familiar.

    • M-----l says:

      Yeah, I have that Lightships CD. I purchased it a couple years ago because there was a sticker on it hyping the Teenage Fanclub connection. I remember liking it, but I should probably dig it out and revisit it now that I know I’m particularly fond of Love’s songs.

      I hope you manage to catch up with Teenage Fanclub one of these days. There aren’t many bands from the early 90s who have aged as well. I was really impressed.

      By the way, I haven’t forgotten about that Best of 2017 list. I’ve got a dozen titles written down, but they aren’t ordered and I know I’m missing some good ones.

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