Teenage Fanclub roll back the years at Rock City

The jangly Glaswegians were on vintage form in Nottingham on Sunday night with a set that seamlessly mixed the new and the old

There’s something quintessentially 90s about Teenage Fanclub landing at Nottingham’s Rock City. Both are institutions of their heydays, but both have remained relevant and vital, one through minor adjustments to their sound, the other through stellar programming and a new floor that is still reassuringly sticky by the end of the night.

Sunday night finds the East Midlands city quiet but not sufficiently so to deter an enthusiastic crowd gathering for a long-delayed visit from Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley et al. Notably absent is bassist Dave McGowan, who has missed this rescheduled tour because of prior commitments. Stephen Black of Sweet Baboo and Group Listening more than ably fills in.

As if to reassert the notion that this is no nostalgia trip, Teenage Fanclub launch straight into two songs from 2021’s Endless Arcade, ‘Home’ and the title track. Both are noticeably livelier than their recorded counterparts, helping them segue seamlessly into a run of crowd pleasers from the band’s 90s output.

Blake jokes from the stage about his FitBit, providing updates on his step count. McGinley, clearly suppressing a cold, pauses at one point to blow his nose. There’s no doubt that Teenage Fanclub are a little older, but when they tear into ‘Alcoholiday’ from Bandwagonesque, the years vanish. The harmonies are flawless, McGinley’s guitar squalls effortlessly, and even though they played Leeds the night before (and Sheffield the night before that) Blake grins from start to finish like a man returning to the stage after years away. His joy is infectious, hauling the crowd along with him so that there’s noticeably more movement by the time he ends their set with a flawless rendition of fan favourite ‘The Concept’.

“I can’t lie,” Blake says, confessing that they’re coming right back to play the four songs he has written down at the bottom of his set list. One of those is TFC’s very own ‘Hey Jude’, the recently released ‘I Left A Light On’, further proof that there’s still greatness to come.

Last of all is the traditional set closer, ‘Everything Flows’ which has lost none of its unbridled charm in the intervening 22 years. Teenage Fanclub lean into the noise, the crowd follows with abandon and the night ends on the perfect high point.

Teenage Fanclub play Birmingham, Norwich, Bath, Brighton, Portsmouth, London, Belfast and Dublin. Find tickets here.