The Undertones – Powerstation July 12, 2017

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Bands! If you want to sell out The Powerstation, take a cue from The Undertones…record a handful of catchy, punky pop tunes, then wait 35 years to finally get around to playing in Auckland.

Despite the fact that lead singer Feargal Sharkey bolted from the group in 1983, the band has continued on, featuring replacement front man Paul McLoone, while the four other original members have remained.

This is interesting as it was Sharkey’s unique voice that set the band apart from other similar outfits. McLoone does an OK job of replicating Sharkey’s distinctive yelp, but I must say, I was a bit put off by his passing resemblance to Morrissey, who I happen to loathe.

The other thing I found a bit unnerving was the fact that I was there to watch a band of 50-something men sing songs that were based on teen experiences.

I realize this is a common situation, but most of The Undertones’ contemporaries…Sex Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks…had more going on in their songs than just teenage kicks. Watching and listening to the middle-age Undertones made me feel like I was watching a version of The Beach Boys if they had ended in 1964…pre Pet Sounds and Smile.

Both the band and the crowd knew the drill…play the old hits, and try not to look too dodgy.

The fans at the front bopped along dutifully, the ones further back, nodded their heads, and glanced at their phones.

With most of their songs clocking in at about the two-minute mark, the quintet was able to whip through 32 tunes in less than 90 minutes, with big hit Teenage Kicks played twice.

The band sounded the best when they sounded like The Ramones, on tunes like Male Model, Get Over You and I Know A Girl. Otherwise they were fine…generic power-pop played competently and with a certain amount of enthusiasm.

This was the first time the band had played New Zealand and they seemed genuinely thrilled. But I’m not so sure if they returned if a couple years’ time, that the turnout would be the same.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery of The Undertones and opening act Leatherhead by Ivan Karczewski:

The Undertones set list:

  1. Jimmy Jimmy
  2. Jump Boys
  3. I Gotta Getta
  4. Here Comes The Summer
  5. It’s Going To Happen
  6. Tearproof
  7. Hypnotised
  8. The Love Parade
  9. Thrill Me
  10. Teenage Kicks
  11. True Confessions
  12. Girls Don’t Like It
  13. Much Too Late
  14. You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)
  15. (She’s A) Runaround
  16. Family Entertainment
  17. When Saturday Comes
  18. Nine Times Out Of Ten
  19. Billy’s Third
  20. Wednesday Week
  21. Julie Ocean
  22. Male Model
  23. Girls That Don’t Talk
  24. Listening In
  25. Get Over You
  26. I Know A Girl
  27. Top Twenty
  28. Smarter Than You
  29. Emergency Cases
  30. My Perfect Cousin
  31. Mars Bars
  32. Teenage Kicks

 

 

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I see it differently, their lyrics are about universal themes, love and longing. Yes teenagers feel those emotions but as a 50 something so do I ( and I like mars bars as well). For me they were great, I was there with people who hadn’t even heard of them and they loved the gig.

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