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14th November 2016

Live: The Undertones

The Undertones delivered a lively performance, brilliantly reminiscent of old school punk, writes Gurnaik Johal

29th October, Manchester Academy

When I found myself standing in a room full of balding, middle-aged men waiting for a band on their 40th Anniversary tour, I started to question my life choices. But when I left panting, drenched in sweat and other-people’s beer, I stopped. The band —  and the audience — had certainly not lost their mojo.

After a disorientating performance by support act The Membranes, The Undertones jumped straight in, playing 2 minute hit after hit. Their three chord songs struck the perfect note with a crowd that could shout along to every chorus. Sadly it didn’t take long for each song to sound like the one before it, but it didn’t really matter; they all sounded bloody good. The vocals were hard to make out under the blaring guitars and thrashing drums, but this was no real loss. The lyrics were more for shouting than pondering but it was no nonsense music at a gig without gimmicks.

The highlight of the show had to be their breakout song, ‘Teenage Kicks’, which they played twice. It was a truly beautiful thing to see old fans reliving their youth and reverting to their teenage selves: the mosh pit was intense. Similarly, the band never dropped in energy all night; it seems that punk doesn’t grow old. It was weirdly refreshing to be out of the student bubble and encouraging to think that good music has no age limit.


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