The Undertones review: Elements of rock, pop, punk and glam gave a rich variety from song to song
- Credit: Patrick Widdess
It may be more than 40 years since Derry rock band The Undertones first took to the stage but there were teenage kicks and more as the band romped through their back catalogue last night at OPEN in Norwich.
Support came from former member of The Specials and The Beat, Neville Staple. The original rude boy's set of two-tone classics backed by seven-piece band would have been a respectable headline act with highlights including Monkey Man, A Message to You, Rudy and Ghost Town.
The Undertones kicked off energetically with debut album opener Family Entertainment and quickly moved through the gears as they belted out a staggering 30 songs. Jimmy Jimmy was an early crowdpleaser. The punchy chorus and dark lyrics are a fine example of the band's nuanced sound with elements of rock, pop, punk and glam giving a rich variety from song to song. The band borrowed Neville Staple's brass section to add the fiesta vibe to 1981 single It's Going to Happen!
Vocalist and bass player Michael Bradley showed his wit and local knowledge throughout the night hailing Norwich City's promotion, recalling The Beatles' famous Grosvenor show in the city and bizarrely attributing the band's most famous lyric "A teenage dream is hard to beat" to Julian of Norwich!
After the iconic Teenage Kicks the band tore through Here Comes the Summer as if they were up against the curfew but they had barely started. Frontman Paul McLoone seemed to grow younger and more energised with each song as he unbuttoned his shirt and jived about the stage throwing scissor kicks. During breakup song Wednesday Week, a single piece of confetti came fluttering down from the rafters. McLoone didn't miss a beat as he reached out and caught it mid-verse. Later in the song a glass of red wine appeared in his hand which he raised in toast to the crowd.
After a resounding Get Over You the band went through the formality of leaving the stage but returned in an instant for an extended encore starting with Billy's Third, penned by drummer Billy Doherty, and ending on My Perfect Cousin.
The band could not have given more over 90 minutes and proved that while Teenage Kicks is a brilliant song, they have many more which are as good, if not better, that they deserve to be remembered for.