WHEN two local bands play the Limelight and they pack the place out, you know something special is going down. Brand New Friend and The Undertones were a fantastic match, with a youthful Brand New Friend supporting the well experienced The Undertones.
Brand New Friend, a quirky upbeat outfit from Castlerock, is Taylor and Lauren Johnson, Aaron Milligan and Luke Harris.
Their set for the night set alight the stage and the audience with their energy. Starting off with “Why Are You So Tired?”, “Seatbelts For Aeroplanes” and “I Was An Astronaut” the tone was well and truly set. They just did not stop smiling and the experience was rather joyous along with their infectious Indie-pop verve. The whole band just could not stop enjoying being on stage and the audience felt that joy too. Their drummer, Luke was so energetic he burst his snare drum.
And, for doing so got to borrow The Undertones snare for the rest of the set. The joyous rush continued with “Milk Chews”, “Mediocre At Best” and the ironically fast paced “Slow”. They drew their set to a close with “Hate It When You Have To Go”, “Girl” and “I Love You, Goodbye”.
They were tight, animated and an absolute delight. They had everyone, including the grumpy old codgers there to relive their youth through The Undertones, bopping along to what can only be described as an elixir of summer. Especially welcome on a cold winter’s night
Then came The Undertones. If you have never heard of The Undertones then you have a false memory.
The Undertones formed in 1974 drawing influence from punk rock and new wave with elements of rock, glam rock, post-punk and even Motown. And even though they were a band of the Troubles period in Northern Ireland, their music focussed more on the experiences of angsty teenagers, enduring heartbreak and being jealous of their cousins.
The Limelight was packed to the gills as the band took to the stage with perfectly timed banter with the audience before Paul McLoone’s golden voice crooned out “Family Entertainment”. Much to the delight of everyone.
The band may be 43 years old, but their energetic posturing, bouncy tunes and boyish charm made them all seem still in their teens.
And, because each song is crafted to the traditional pop tune length of about 3 to 4 minutes in their over an hour long set they banged out well over 30 songs.
Plus, each one was adored by the crowd, which seemed to go in age from 18 to 80. This band not only ‘crossed the barricades’, they crossed the generations with absolute ease. The showmanship of Paul and the rest of the band was outstanding.
The set included “Jump Boys”, “I Gotta Getta”, Tearproof”, “Oh Please” and those classics that you may have forgotten, or not forgotten – just forgot they were done by The Undertones. These included “Jimmy Jimmy”, “It's Going to Happen”, “Girls That Don't Talk”, “Here Comes the Summer”, “I Know a Girl” and “When Saturday Comes”.
Then, of course, there are THOSE two songs. You know, the ones that encapsulate all that is The Undertones.
Yup, the set would not have been anywhere near complete without “My Perfect Cousin” and the John Peel special “Teenage Kicks”. And “Teenage Kicks” being so good, they sang it twice.
To say the crowd loved every single moment is an understatement. Not one single person stayed still as they all sang along enthusiastically to each well-rehearsed tune. It is a night for many to remember, night to shine a light on The Undertones as a band you have to see before you die.
Review by Ivor Whtten
Pictures by Darren McVeigh