Crud World Domination Enterprises give you


Carling Academy, Manchester

an undertone

(review n pix by phil newall)

Old fart get his Teenage Kicks..

After an extended period of a live music drought, my own fault - too lazy, too busy etc I re-entered the gig world with the short trip to Manchester to witness the Undertones - albeit The Undertones minus Feargal Sharkey - does that not make them That Petrol Emotion? - No, cos they have a new singer! Not seen Derry's finest since way back yonder when they played at Liverpool's Eric's/Brady's, a lot has happened since then. The Undertones are now revered as writers of some of the finest pop tunes of the era, a fact confirmed with the recent 'Best Of' CD/DVD, Sharkey left, went solo - went shit, That Petrol Emotion came with a harder sound, peaked with 'Big Decision' and called it a day in 1994, but enough of the history lesson..

Having arrived at the Jazbel Clegg pub, it was obvious a small reunion was in order, Hocky (Instant Agony & contributor to this site), Big Richie (Mere Dead Men), Keith (Fightback & my travelling companion) met up after many years, Hocky being in deep talk regarding Agony tour dates?? Expectation was running high, aided by a healthy quota of of the amber nectar and fond memories of The Undertones all those years ago, little did we know that our joy could be tempered so easily - but at that point none of us had witnessed D.I.L.E

Support was provided by D.I.L.E - Ten of them shambled on to the stage looking like a Belgian Specials/2-Tone covers band, the singer introduced them as "another band you've never heard of" and they set about maintaining that status.. to call them shite would be kind. They looked like a ska band but sounded just plain confused, we contemplated self harm after four numbers but opted for the bar instead. Who booked these wasters, they are at best a pub band, and certainly way of the mark for The Undertones.

After an extended delay The Undertones took to the stage and from the opening bars of 'Jimmy Jimmy' it was obvious they were on blinding form. With vocals being provided by Paul McLoon, and the O'Neils providing the riffs, the band blasted their way through just all the hits 'My Perfect Cousin', 'Mars Bars', Family Entertainment', my own favourite 'Get Over You' and then dipped into the really early stuff with 'Teenage Kicks', and 'True Confessions' launching the healthy crowd into overdrive. I know this band have been at this since late 75/76 and should know what they are doing, but they are more than just good, they play at blistering pace - no point in me holding back they are fuckin awesome, every song was a hit, from the days when chart success actually mattered. More to the point the band were obviously enjoying themselves, and this feeling transferred to the crowd who responded accordingly. The hits just kept coming Here Come's The Summer', 'I Gotta Getta' being blasted out forcing the frenzied rabble into spontaneous crowd surfing; Usually in my humble attempts at reviewing gigs I try to remain focused, subjective even, but hell no not this time, The Undertones were truly fucking awesome; everything was perfect, a clean sound, good vocals and songs to die for - they are magnificent. We were treated to a few numbers from the new album which are easily on par with the more well known stuff, The only failing (and I know its a tired cliché but this time its true), would be the 11pm curfew at The Academy, it just didn't allow the band to deliver all they could of and obviously wanted to.

As we left, I looked about and couldn't help but notice the joy on peoples faces, and the feeling that we had just seen a band with a history and a future that are really worth your attention. I had a warm feeling, not just brought on by nostalgia, but by being lifted by the sheer joy a couple of three minute pop songs can deliver. I was still buzzing two days later as I entered my local fine music emporium, well the HMV Liverpool, and picked out the first Undertones album on CD reissue with all sorts of extra's, plus the DVD - I can't recall seeing a band and going out and immediately replacing worn out vinyl - I just cant recommend them enough - go see them, not because they are the hip new cool art wank rock tinged with Malaysian ethnic jazz, but because they are truly awe inspiring, as they said themselves as they took to the stage albeit in a tongue in cheek fashion 'Apparently were punk legends' If ever a label was better deserved..

Back to Gig Index