Teenage Fanclub man un-retires for Southend downbeat dreamers
don wu

16:39 10th March 2017

Your debut LP is days away from dropping, a trickle of decent reviews has begun, and you’re about to embark on your first tour to take it to the masses. And then...the wheels come off; a key member of the band takes an unplanned holiday (at Her Majesties pleasure according to the gossip at the bar of this shabby London boozer.)

Dark Globes (Southend’s latest erm..bright hopes) opted to fill their vacancy with an optimistic plan to lure a living legend out of self-imposed exile. Remarkably, Brendan O’Hare, the hell-raising stick man from prime-time Teenage Fanclub (and later Mogwai, Macrocosmica and the underrated Telstar Ponies) appears to have answered their plea, because he’s here tonight, packed tightly onto a tiny stage with his thankful Southern disciples.

The band glide and glow through much of their laid-back debut (“Everyone I know is falling apart“- think Painful era Yo La Tengo but with prettier songs) with a loose and occasionally chaotic sound not dissimilar to early Fanclub. This is helped in no small way to O’Hare’s trademark drumming: His banter between songs too brought this writer back to those messy early 90’s shows, captured beautifully in his loony portrait from that NME front cover from ’92. This banter descends into full on post-watershed stand-up comedy during the band’s futile attempt to fix O’Hare’s malfunctioning microphone stand.

However, the set’s highlight, comes from the band’s poignant delivery of Telstar Ponies’ Side Netting in which Dark Globes and stand-in were visibly moved by the unlikely moment they were sharing.

Teenage Fanclub may be back to jet-setting to around the world to sell-out crowds, but the glassy-eyed glances around this small venue on the outskirts of scruffy Euston showed that there’s nowhere else tonight’s audience and performers would rather be.

Photo: Paul Docker