Toronto – Teenage Fanclub have been around for about 20 years now and they’ve still got it. The Scottish power poppers are touring behind Shadows, their first album in 5 years. The new material is good and their harmonies are still solid … although physically, the 20 years are starting to take their toll. These guys are starting to look a bit like Dads … which I guess they probably are, but that’s neither here nor there.
First a few words on openers Rick Of The Skins. The late 90s Halifax group has apparently reunited, though this show was the first I had heard about it. Perhaps they were inspired by the recent reunion of … well, pretty much every band that ever existed, but perhaps more specifically, the Thrush Hermit Reunion (former Thrush Hermit-er Ian McGettigan is also a member of this band). They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there, switching musical instruments from member to member between every song – seriously, every member played everything! This loose atmosphere helped to sell the songs, some of which you could tell were written 10 or more years ago – the tongue-in-cheek rap-rock number they closed out with would have been hard to swallow if not for the fact that it was prefaced by saying, “We must have been 15 when we wrote this song … or it feels like it anyways.” Also, a note to Ian McGettigan – the rest of the band looked like they at least dressed up a bit for the show, whereas you looked like you just got off the couch. Still, nice Cheap Trick t-shirt.
Shortly after Rick of The Skins, Teenage Fanclub took to the stage, starting things off with “Start Again” before launching into a few from the new album. This was the first night of their North American tour (perhaps they’re starting here because Norman Blake now lives in Kitchener, Ontario or maybe just so Blake can introduce “Baby Lee” as “Geddy Lee” becuase he knows a Toronto crowd will get the joke) and being the first night, it would seem that they’re still working out the kinks on their setlist. While all the songs were great, not all of it worked as a totally cohesive set but again, it’s the first night so there’s plenty of room to rejig things. The most noticeable sign that they may still be working things out was when the second last song, “Today Never Ends,” was introduced as their last song and then immediately followed it with “Everything Flows.” Either they realized that the former was the wrong song to go out on or they just decided not to bother leaving the stage and doing a second encore. Either way, ”Everything Flows” was the better choice. Other highlight of the set were “The Concept,” “Ain’t That Enough,” and one of my favourites, “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From,” which featured Blake on the Glockenspiel. They left out a few songs I would have liked to have heard, (“Mellow Doubt,” “Hang On,” and especially “What You Do To Me” come to mind, but odds are they might show up in the second night’s set) but all in all, it was a great show.
Here’s the setlist for the night: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/teenage-fanclub/2010/horseshoe-tavern-toronto-on-canada-53d5cb55.html