Back when I was about 12 I was watching Kids TV with my much-lamented Gran, and they played the video of 'Teenage Kicks'. "What a load of rubbish" she said " 'get teenage kicks right through the night'?, haven't they got anything more worthwhile to say than that?"
No they hadn't and no they still haven't, as tonight's glorious performance showed. The Undertones were (and still are) pop-punk perfection, combining energy, humour and a neat line in stage banter with 3 minute blasts of barbed guitar riffs and vocal hooks a-plenty. What seems to work well tonight, as ever, is the way the two or three vocals combine in poptastic harmonies, and the way the two guitars work together, the foot-tapping, mosh-inducing rhythm supporting the simple but oh so memorable and instantly recognisable riffs of the lead. The lyrics are clever, amusing yet straight forward all at once; dealing (as Gran spotted) with the mundane but also the universals of life, and it's impossible to listen tonight without laughing out loud at least once during most of the songs.
It was weird watching five 50 plus year old men pouring out perfectly the songs I'd taped from the radio in my early teenage years, but these outpourings were perfect, divine, heavenly pop, able to teach the likes of The Arctic Monkeys a thing or two. And I don't think this is just the nostalgia talking; the new songs sounded great on a first listen and the gig was packed with kids from age10 upwards who felt the same; and I know of at least one 16 year old whose shirt was thrown at the band from the moshpit, causing the bass player to fuck up 'Get Over You', and the rest of the band to laugh out loud.
Gran could hardly have guessed that 25 years later, The Undertones would still be pouring out their frothy pop to an ecstatic audience. It's the universal triviality of their subject matter ("Chocolate and Girls") that ensures their continued appeal, along with their seemingly effortless ability to write top-notch pop songs.
And that's what makes their teenage dreams so hard to beat.
Thanks to Pod for sorting this out
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