It’s been 12 years since Teenage Fanclub last played Brisbane, so when the band stepped on the stage, it was to cheers for the returning heroes.
The band opened with ‘Start Again’, a song which gave the packed audience an immediate dose of the jangly guitars, bright melodies and perfect harmonies from singers Norman Blake and Gerald Love.
Songs from their new album were aired. The guitars had a much cleaner sound than their past albums, but they brightened up The Triffid with their perfectly-crafted melodies on songs like The Byrds’-song-that-could’ve-been ‘I’m In Love’.
It was their back catalogue that had fans most excited, with many shouting requests throughout the night. Norman responds to one request for ‘About You’ by teasing “it might be your lucky day”.
When they did finally get to it, the harmonising in the opening lines was sticky sweet like honey, with the audience lapping it up like bees.
Teenage Fanclub’s biggest hit to date, ‘Ain’t That Enough’, also generated excitement, with its soaring melody making the audience feel lighter than air.
With most of their songs inducing the crowd to sway with the music, it was closing song ‘The Concept’ that gave this gentle band a chance to rock out with some fine, overdriven guitar heroics from Raymond McGinley, and gave the crowd a chance to mosh.
Returning for an encore, the band played new song ‘I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive’, a Raymond-sung song with heavier shades of psychedelia thanks to Dave McGowan’s keys and Francis MacDonald’s krautrock drums. The song was different to what we’re used to hearing from the band, but it was mesmerising to see a band tread outside their wheelhouse and nail it.
The band also treated fans to more of their rocky numbers with classics ‘Star Sign’ and ‘Everything Flows’, but they gave us a treat in a cover of departed Go-Between Grant McLennan’s ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’, a performance which Norman said was special to the band due to them playing in Grant’s hometown.
The song was just as special for the audience; an acknowledgment of Brisbane’s place as a cultural capital rather than another big, country town.
Teenage Fanclub are a special band who treat their fans like they’re just as special. I’m certain a lot of fans left the show feeling just like me: warm on the inside and lighter than air.