Seminal Derry punks The Undertones play a busy Academy in Dublin tonight, rampaging through a hugely entertaining ninety minute set that’s rapturously received by an audience that run the gamut from dedicated fans from as far back to 1976, to a collection gathered across the intervening forty years.
Fronted by Paul McLoone since reforming in November 1999, and in the midst of a scattered run of dates celebrating the aforementioned fortieth anniversary of their formation, proceedings get off to a crowd pleasing start with ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ and ‘Jump Boys’, which warms up both crowd and band – McLoone going so far as to break his mic stand, while bassist Michael Bradley conspires to do damage to his guitar lead.
It’s clear that the quintet are delighted to be on-stage, McLoone is a ball of energy throughout, dancing maniacally and unbuttoning his shirt and doing it back up on a continual basis like a fusion of Mick Jagger and Morrissey’s on stage tics.
There are groups for whom a certain lack of diversity and range in their songwriting can be construed as a major negative, but The Undertones have a certain amount of timelessness identifiable throughout their canon that manifests itself over the course of an evening. From ‘Here Comes The Summer’ to ‘You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)’, and of course ‘Teenage Kicks’ – this is a seemingly bottomless reserve of pure quality, simple three chord songwriting and glorious melodies.
It also makes it all the more notable when faced with a different paced song – principally in the guise of ‘Wednesday Week’, introduced by McLoone as “the second closest thing we have to a slow song”. The set proper draws to a close with a rapturously received ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Over You’, but happily the show is only getting going, as the encore is kick-started with the delightful ‘My Perfect Cousin’.
Concluding a coruscating and rewardingly lengthy encore with a heartfelt ode to confectionery in ‘Mars Bars’, The Undertones prove themselves to retain a real sense of energy and vitality. What’s lacking in terms of variety is more than compensated for by virtue of the sheer joy radiating both from the band themselves and all in attendance for a thoroughly enjoyable night in Dublin.