Review of Teenage Fanclub live at The Cockpit, Leeds on 4th June 2010

For their diehard fans the effect of listening to Teenage Fanclub's ninth album Shadows, released last month, will have been like getting a big hug from a favourite auntie. Lacking star guest spots from the likes of Crystal Castles, The XX or Diplo, the Glaswegian veterans instead have chosen to stick with their unbroken formula of relying on the likes of Crosby Still & Nash and Neil Young for inspiration.

Teenage Fanclub

The last time they were touring in support of anything new - 2005's Man Made - artists still made money by selling records. As farfetched as this idea may now seem, it shouldn't be forgotten that running alongside Brit Pop, Norman Blake and co. shifted a few units themselves, producing back to back top ten albums in Grand Prix and Songs From Northern Britain respectively.

All this adds up to a fan base from the pre-iPod era, many of which are out in force at a sold out Cockpit and determined to have a good time in the face of substantial babysitting fees. Blake now has the appearance of a 'Weegie' Jerry Springer and his friends resemble dentists and bank managers, but whilst audience and band have weathered over the past two decades with varying degrees of success, tonight is to be far from an exercise in turning up and playing the hits.

Shadows boasts several vintage TFC moments, as opener I Don't Need To Believe In Anything and the sublime Into The City illustrate. Perhaps surprisingly the majority of the album is given a run out in fact, meaning another chance to catch the likes of the mellifluous romanticism of Baby Lee and the anti-war sentiments of Shock And Awe.

Credit where it's due then for producing a curfew busting hour and three quarters long set which balanced new material with the old, but predictably it was the scrapbook moments which stole the show. Like a country jangle jukebox, the reminders of a blinder just kept on coming, I Don't Want Control of You, Verisimilitude, Mellow Doubt and I Need Direction all greeted rapturously.

If this more euphoric reception for the old material was a frustration for the band, nobody on stage seemed to mind. And in what was perhaps a tacit concession to the nostalgia overtones, Sparky's Dream closes the pre-encore show, whilst debut single Everything Flows finishes off the night in guitar overload, both going down like free money. Part way through the night Blake says "Friday nights are always the best for gigs". He didn't find many disagreeing with him, although I didn't get Star Sign, but that's my problem.

Andy Peterson

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