The Undertones – Fat Sams, Dundee – 26th February 2010
Strangely Fat Sams is a venue I’d never been to before. Possibly because many bands playing there (and thus discovering there is life beyond the central belt) also play Aberdeen as well.Not this time however, and another tick on the venues I’d been to list was made. Rather than comment about the venue here I’ll add comments to the appropriate place in the venue section of this very site. A point has been subtracted though, for having a queue of 30-40 punters standing in the rain until eight o’clock whilst the support band finished their soundcheck and the time on the tickets said 7.30pm. Its only half an hour late BUT, well, I’m sure you can tell that it annoys me.
Support tonight are local boys from Forfar, The Trade who I’d never seen before and apparently there was around 350 people in the venue when they kicked off (or should that be strummed off?) their 45 minute, ten song set at half past eight.
This is a five piece band with two guitars, a bass guitar, drums and a vocalist. No keyboard effects to be filtered in, just a good (but varying) tempo guitars and drums, with a ballsy indie sound. From the first couple of songs The Trade make an immediate impact with me playing Beg, Steal and Borrow and then their popular Dealer. By now a good portion of the crowd (the younger element admittedly) has found its way to the dancefloor as vocalist Ross Milne explains that they weren’t sure as to whether to include a cover or not. From what I’ve heard so far if they have enough original material of their own then why bother? Anyway, the coin must have landed as heads as they went on to bang out a rousing version of Sex on Fire. This had an effect on the crowd that many people then began to singalong and possibly set them up for the rest of their set. Remember we’re still only three songs in at this point!
Next up is No Fighting, then two songs with great build ups in tempo follow, 20 and Let It All Out, both with a number of the crowd joining in, always a sign of people enjoying themselves. Next up, Do You Want It involves the use of a harmonica mic (new to me, I wont lie) but to be honest I think the song is strong enough without it.I look forward to being prepared for it (the harmonica mic) next time. Fight Club, Middleman and Empire end the set, the latter having the `here we here we here we f**king go` from Glasvegas Go Square Go squeezed in to involve the crowd even more. Its possibly one of the best support sets I’ve seen, although, admittedly I do appreciate this type of music. Those who like something `a bit different` should probably look away but hell, it works for me. Its not often you’re thinking a support band has `maybe one more song still to come` that’s how decent they were on the night (in my humble opinion). The link to their MySpace site is here and with an album coming out later this year so we’ve plenty to look forward to.
So, that brings us to The Undertones. When they take to the stage at quarter to ten the venue has filled up a bit more, with around 450 people in attendance, mixed ages and both sexes, always good to see the `forties club` with their band t-shirts of course , Stiff Little Fingers seem to be the most popular on the night followed by The Clash and a bonus point was awarded to the young teenage girl with the Sex Pistols denim jacket it’s great to see that passion for the music style sometimes.
The Undertones are somewhat predictable at times. We have three guitarists who forsake any kind of showing off and just get their heads down and do their jobs, rather excellently of course, and add to the vocals when needed. Throughout the evening the quiet chap at the back, drummer Billy Docherty is totally wired into his performance tonight, at times the man looked like he was incensed with his sticks and skins with much velocity for a sound where you don’t really seem to notice the drums much as raw punk music for example. Vocalist Paul McLoone is looking rather sharp in his velvet suit, New York dolls t-shirt and a new cropped hair style (due to a visit of headlice Mickey quips in the course of the evening), and wastes no time in getting into his usual stride at the front of the stage.
A twenty two song setlist is played to the full with an added bonus of the legendary Mars Bars played as the last song of the evening, the third of a three song encore, I know a Girl and Get over You being the other two. After initial problems with an amplifier were overcome the lads did us proud with You’ve Got My Number, Here Comes The Summer, Jump Boys, Male Model, I Gotta Getta, Girls That Dont Talk, Thrill Me, Jimmy Jimmy, Wednesday Week, Family Entertainment, She’s a Runaround, When Saturday Comes, My Perfect Cousin, Tearproof, There Goes Norman, Hypnotised, Dig Yourself Deep, Girls Don’t Like It, I’m Recommending Me and Teenage Kicks.
Good to see I’m Recommending Me included although I’d like to see a couple more tracks from the excellent Get What You Need album included. That’s just a personal preference though, as they have an extensive back catalogue to choose from.
Summarising their performance I think the musicians were as good as I’ve seen them lately (last year at Dingwalls, London, the year before at The Lemon Tree). Sometimes Paul seemed to be stretching his voice a bit to perhaps compare with his predecessor (I invite comments on this from people who were there, use the comments box at the bottom of this page) this I feel he does not need to do. He’s his own man and damned good at what he does.
It really was a worthwhile drive down to Tayside for this event. Just remember Aberdeen next time round fellas Still Burning