Sunday, April 28, 2024

Teenage Fanclub returns for another great appearance at the 9:30 Club

Friday night marked the fourth time I’ve seen the band from Glasgow that I'm sure I would rank among my top 15 bands of all time. Teenage Fanclub played a tight 90-minute set that was - as to be expected from such harmonious songsmiths, who have never been capable of writing a band tune - as glorious as any self-respecting indie-rocker who came of age in the 1990s would expect.

One-third of the classic songwriting trio, Gerard Love, has retired, so his songs such as “Star Sign” were sadly missing from the setlist. But Stephen Black from Wales filled in ably on bass and also opened the night with a solo performance under the name Sweet Baboo. (I'm not sure why he was the bassist, as I thought the regular band member was still Dave McGowan, who doubles on bass for Belle and Sebastian.) Euros Childs is also an excellent addition to the band, as I've been a fan of his weirdo band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci for a long time and his harmonies and keyboard work adds plenty to the Fanclub.

Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley are in a severly underrated league of their own as the band's now-primary songwriters and guitarists.

The show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. was loaded with numbers from their latest release, 2023's Nothing Lasts Forever, which wasn't such a bad thing since I ranked that my 18th favorite album of 2023. Classic 1990s-era highlights included "Alcoholiday," "The Concept," "What You Do to Me," and "Metal Baby" from 1991's Bandwagonesque; "Your Love is the Place Where I Come From" off 1997's Songs From Northern Britain; and of course the closer and highlight, "Everything Flows" from 1990's A Catholic Education.

My only minor complaint was the lack of any songs from 1993's Thirteen or 1995's Grand Prix, but getting a 20-song set means there really wasn't much wrong on this night. It was also a blast getting to hang out with my neighbor buddies Brian and Brian (not Bryan, as we reiterated throughout the night), Scott, and Linda and eating delicious pizza-by-the-slice at Andy's Pizza across the street.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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