Teenage Fanclub @ Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 14 Sep

Teenage Fanclub give fans exactly what they expect at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms – and it's just what you need

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 20 Sep 2021
  • Teenage Fanclub @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, 16 Aug

Openers Poster Paints, the new band comprised of Carla J. Easton and Simon Liddell, are playing live for the very first time tonight. But Easton's voice is immediately recognisable, leading a selection of soaring rock songs with atmospheric builds and pop-inflected ballads. There's more guitar and a bit less bombast than last year's WEIRDO, but the pair have cultivated an easy, complementary style that is hopefully the start of big things.

Poster Paints were still months away from forming when this gig was postponed for the second time, so it's been a bit of a wait for the return of the legendary Bellshill group, Teenage Fanclub. However, the faithful know what to expect from such a consistent band, and it's quickly business as usual with an opening duo of About You and Start Again. The clean, jangling chords ring out and the group harmonies come together, though the mix does occasionally get muffled when instruments overpower the vocals.

The biggest rupture for the band in the last 30 years was the departure of Gerard Love in 2018, which is perhaps to account for some loss of vocal power. His ostensible replacement, Euros Childs (Gorky's Zygotic Mynci), brings a stronger presence on keys, unafraid to bring his psychedelic influences to bear on his synth lines (especially on newer songs like Endless Arcade).

There's a lot of songs from April's Endless Arcade, including two never before played live (Back in the Day and In Our Dreams), but by and large it's the old ones that sparkle brightest. Alcoholiday and Verisimilitude are a great one-two showing off the band's slacker-indie, Neil Young guitar indulgence and punchy power-pop. Your Love is the Place Where I Come From is them at their thoughtful best (with xylophone!) and The Concept ends the main set with one of Raymond McGinley's many blistering solos.

The encore starts with their first single (from June 1990), Everything Flows, which highlights just how little the band's sound has changed over the years. The production may have gotten a little slicker, the vocals a little more strained at times, but Teenage Fanclub know what they're good at, and they're fucking brilliant at it.