Monday, December 13, 2004

Undertones Birmingham Academy

Saw The Undertones 11/12/04 at Birmingham Academy 2. On principal I’m not a big fan of bands reforming, especially without the original singer and especially if they were one of my favourite bands whose first 2 albums seeped into my being, like balti on your Naan hand. However the last lp, Get What You Need, has some belting songs on it and the new singer has more than a touch of the Feargal tones.

In the moments before the band came on I was surprised at just how excited I was. It had been 21 years since I’d seen them and here I was in a smaller venue than I’d ever seen them before with an audience of old Punk Rock dads and their kids. It was an excellent gig. The band seemed to be having a lot of fun and seemed surprised at the bouncy enthusiasm and backing vocals of the audience. The guitar sounds were crunchy and it was great to see John and Dee O'Neil, still manhandling their guitars like they were slightly too big for them and Micky’s trademark move that consists of bouncing his knees because his boots are too heavy for him to move his feet and dipping his bass up and down slightly. Watch and learn Kiss. You too Steps. They were always a great live band and still are. Singer Paul’s special moves include gurning and wiggling with his back to the audience.

The old songs were drawn overwhelmingly from the first 2 lps, with 2 from Positive Touch, nothing at all from The Sin of Pride. The 4 songs from Get what You Need fitted in well with that sound and the 2 brand new songs they played were built round a Paper Back Writer style riff.

I’d seen them 7 times between 1981 and 83 and I enjoyed this gig as much as any of them and in fact, thinking about the set list, they played more of the songs that I liked. The band played really well, although Julie Ocean suffered when they band dropped down a gear (Remember seeing them play it at Manchester Apollo in 1981 before Positive Touch came out and loving it’s Velvet Underground fragility) …but they recovered and came back with chunky guitars, quivery vocals, hugely entertaining backing vocals and more of those funny, bittersweet songs about girls.

These are the songs I can remember. Some are even in order. It’s a fair night out!

Family entertainment, You’ve got my number, Girls don’t like it, I need your love (the way it used to be), Male Model, I’m recommending me, Girls that don’t talk, Tearproof, Rain’s gonna fall, My perfect cousin, Get over you, I know a girl, Ride the rough escalator, Joyland, Thrill me, Wednesday week, Jump boys, Here comes the summer, Julie ocean, Teenage kicks, When Saturday comes, True confessions, Mars Bar