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Deer Shed Festival 2017: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 31st July 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Words and photos by Martin Sharman, formerly Head Photographer at TGTF, except where noted

If last year’s Deer Shed was the impeccably-behaved child who eats with their knife and fork and never speaks with their mouth full, 1 year on that same child is bigger, a bit more difficult to get on with, but still manages to bring joy in virtually unlimited quantities when they’re on their best behaviour. The first signs of growing pains come when we are introduced to a brand new parking field, easily doubling the distance ‘twixt vehicle and pitch. Still a modest trek in comparison to some, but the extra luggage distance is a sure-fire recipe for sore arms. The new field was needed because the camping areas have been enlarged at the expense of parking spaces, meaning that there’s almost too much camping space: there’s acres of room, so nobody has to camp near anyone they don’t want to.

Deer Shed 2017 signpost

It was sunny.

On Friday, the dulcet melodies of Happyness (of whom more later) and Honeyblood (a brilliant two-girl Scottish duo of various grungey textures) spill on the gentle breeze as we have line-of-sight of the main stage from the campsite: such luxury!) But by the time airbeds are firmed, John Shuttleworth is the unanimous choice for first act in person. His deadpan delivery is spot on, as always. The “soundcheck” joke deserves to be repeated at stages across the land, and in his delivery of such postmodern classics as ‘Two Margarines’ and ‘I Can’t Go Back to Savoury Now’ live the ghosts of such diverse entertainers as Les Dawson and Fred Dibnah.

John Shuttleworth by photographer Simon Godley for Deer Shed Festival
John Shuttleworth by photographer Simon Godley for Deer Shed Festival

Kids are dispatched, and it’s time to finally see Teenage Fanclub live after many a year of listening to them on record. I believe they were alive, just, although from the one-dimensional dynamic built from the same metronomic handful of chords played in slightly different orders, it was difficult to be sure they were fully awake. The breathless fanboyism of Deer Shed’s own review tells a different story, but let’s set the record straight here: unless your idea of fun is watching the result of an accountants’ team-building session shuffling around a stage, stick to their recorded oeuvre.

It was still dry.

Teenage Fanclub by photographer Simon Godley for Deer Shed Festival
Teenage Fanclub by photographer Simon Godley for Deer Shed Festival

This was mentioned back in 2015, but it bears repeating now: presumably in an effort to swell the audience for a headliner who needs such assistance, there is nothing scheduled elsewhere on the site during the final main stage band. There was little point in escaping Fanclub so they received the benefit of the doubt and a full viewing in case they got going a bit towards the end (they didn’t). The Obelisk tent is Deer Shed’s traditional late-night party venue, and it kicks off just after the headliners finish around 11 o’clock. Revellers flock there to continue the party, in the hope of a fresh beverage and some tunes of increasing intensity.

The former: yes, the latter: not so much. Bryde is excellent in her own way, with a beautiful breathy voice and songs of drama and poise. I wouldn’t mind her in the sun earlier in the day, but in essence she’s just a girl with a guitar, at gone 11 at night, when there’s nothing else on and everyone wants at least a boogie, basically. And after her there’s another solo singer/songwriter, Lewis Bootle, who I like less. His patois-hip-singing is annoying and falls far short of satisfying an increasingly impatient crowd. They’ve even taken away the piano that’s been in the corner of the bar for Sheds past. Sacrilege! (I’d find it the next day, looking damp and forlorn, abandoned on the grass some way outside the tent. With the lid locked shut.)

Someone faffs around with a mixer for ages and finally, well past midnight, some danceable music comes on. Nothing special mind, just an indie disco basically, but it’ll do. They say you make your own entertainment, however, so meanwhile all number of just-about-remembered faces from festivals gone by are reacquainted, along with some new ones (shout out to Jen, Billie, Alex, Chris, Neil… and all those others whose names I’ve forgotten), so a night in the Obelisk is always memorable. But please, Deer Shed, can you schedule something upbeat every night as soon as the main stage ends? Many thanks.

It still hadn’t rained as I crawled into bed.

 

Live Gig Video: Teenage Fanclub share ‘Thin Air’ video filmed in famed Glasgow venue

 
By on Friday, 21st October 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Glaswegian legends Teenage Fanclub released their tenth album ‘Here’ back in September on their own record label PeMa. For the music video for album cut ‘Thin Air’, they went back to their roots. Specifically, they headed for the basement of The 13th Note, a legendary venue on King Street in their hometown of Glasgow, to film this live performance video in brilliant technicolour. Watch it in its splendour below. Teenage Fanclub have a UK and Irish tour scheduled to begin in mid-November; they’ve also announced a show at London Shepherds Bush Empire in February 2017. To read more of our coverage of the Scottish band on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7STiigXdYg[/youtube]

 

Teenage Fanclub / November and December 2016 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd August 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Veteran Glaswegian indie pop stars Teenage Fanclub have announced a massive tour of the UK and Ireland for this November and December, following their completely sold out September UK tour and a list of October live dates in North America. The lengthy list of live shows comes in support of Teenage Fanclub’s forthcoming new album ‘Here’, which is due out on the 9th of September on the band’s own PeMa label, via Republic of Music in the UK (it’ll be out on Merge Records in America). You can watch the promo video for the album’s first single ‘I’m In Love’ just below the tour date listing.

Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s past coverage of Teenage Fanclub is gathered right back here.

Tuesday 15th November 2016 – Inverness Ironworks
Wednesday 16th November 2016 – Whitley Bay Playhouse (sold out)
Thursday 17th November 2016 – Sheffield Leadmill
Friday 18th November 2016 – Manchester Academy 2
Sunday 20th November 2016 – Leeds University
Monday 21st November 2016 – Norwich Waterfront
Tuesday 22nd November 2016 – London Electric Ballroom (sold out)
Wednesday 23rd November 2016 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 24th November 2016 – Brighton Concorde 2 (sold out)
Saturday 26th November 2016 – Birmingham Institute
Sunday 27th November 2016 – Cardiff Glee Club (sold out)
Monday 28th November 2016 – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 29th November 2016 – Bristol Anson Rooms
Wednesday 30th November 2016 – Cambridge Junction
Friday 2nd December 2016 – Dublin Academy
Saturday 3rd December 2016 – Glasgow Barrowland (sold out)
Sunday 4th December 2016 – Glasgow ABC (sold out)

[youtube]https://youtu.be/FDOLKSp2AWU[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Teenage Fanclub and the Vaselines with the Radar Brothers at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 2nd October 2010

 
By on Thursday, 7th October 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

I don’t know too much about Scottish popular music. The only Scottish band’s album I have knowingly purchased was Camera Obscura’s ‘My Maudlin Career’ last year. When Teenage Fanclub announced a tour of North America was starting in Washington, I decided it was in my best interest to see these elder statesmen of guitar-driven twee pop. (Also on my mind was the reverence for Teenage Fanclub that Brighton’s Brakes related to me when I met them last autumn.) Co-headlining with the Club were the Vaselines (pictured above), who I knew nothing about, save their recent single ‘Sex with an X’ (also the title of their latest album) that Lammo enjoys playing on his 6music programme. Surely one good pop song means they can write others, yes?

A mate described opening band the Radar Brothers as ‘Americana’. To be honest, I have no idea what that label means, except that maybe it indicates low-key, slightly country rock. It’s not my thing. But it’s mellow, enjoyable and wearing plaid, not super exciting. Lead singer / guitarist Jim Putnam tried to be funny, telling everyone, “we have some stuff on sale over there,” pointing to the merch table. “Lots of black market stuff!” Laughter. I was a little confused at one point in their set when womens’ voices seem to come out of nowhere (well, I know they were coming out of the speakers, but I didn’t see any synths onstage, so I’m not sure how they cued the backing tracks up), and this addition seemed out of place to me.

I expected the Vaselines to proffer plenty of great pop tunes and they certainly delivered. It’s hard to write a good, punchy, short pop song, and the Vaselines are very good at this. Never wearing out their welcome with effective guitar driven melodies and the gorgeous duetting of Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly, they sounded and looked great. Forget that they started the band in 1986. They’re just as valid as any other band out there today trying to make pop music.

Songs like ‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam’ showcased their somewhat softer side, while ‘No Hope’ and ‘Ruined’ highlighted the fact that this is a guitar band capable of being a great guitar band. Don’t discount the Vaselines, they know how to rock. They also know how to tell dirty jokes(there was a continuing joke about wanking throughout the entire set) and poke fun at each other. A punter asked McKee what kind of guitar she played, and she replied, “Hagstrom”. Kelly quipped, “because it’s a hag that strums a guitar”. Ooh, snap!

Teenage Fanclub was really the reason I made the trip to the 9:30 Saturday night. (It was my fifth gig in a week after returning from my Philly/Boston trip, so I was running on empty pretty much by this time.) I hate to say it but after the Vaselines, there was really no way they could compete. It’s funny to me that Wikipedia lists Teenage Fanclub as ‘a Scottish alternative rock band’ and the Vaselines as “a Scottish pop band’ when the Vaselines definitely showed a rockier, harder edge than Teenage Fanclub did.

To be honest, I was getting bored with the extended outros that reminds you of the Grateful Dead. After people ‘lit up’ for the Temper Trap in Philadelphia the previous Sunday, I’m really surprised no one lit a spliff for this show. They do have some gorgeous numbers – ‘When I Still Have Thee’ off their current album, ‘Shadows’, for one is amazing – and their musicianship is great, so it was a good but not extraordinary performance.

More photos and set lists after the cut.

Continue reading Live Review: Teenage Fanclub and the Vaselines with the Radar Brothers at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 2nd October 2010

 
 
 

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