Monkee business

Teenage Fanclub The Junction, Cambridge

On my way to the Junction I'm hailed by a man in a car. He's lost his way. There are two teenagers - presumably his offspring - hunched with shame in the back seat. It's a quintessential TFC moment: awkwardness amid comfort.

Inside the venue, there are a few oldies dotted around but down at the front it's all youngsters in Wonderstuff and Stone Roses T-shirts (they know the guys in the band will understand). Founder member Norman Blake ambles on to the tiny stage and explains that drummer Paul is "in the bathroom". The whistles and cheers are deafening.

The set mixes favourites like "Hang On" and "What You Do to Me" with tracks off the recent Grand Prix album. The new songs go down a storm, especially "Sparky's Dream", with boys and girls joyfully hurling themselves into the air.

Gerard Love and Raymond McGinley do their guitar thing with eyes on fingers, only looking up to grin at each other. Bassist Gerry is ageing beneath his choirboy haircut but his voice is still achey-breaky. Raymond - Mike Nesmith minus bobble hat - thrashes carefully and does a beautiful solo on "Going Places".

He sings too, but the attention always looks painful. By contrast, John Major lookalike Paul Quinn, the band's new drummer, bangs away like a gulping fish.

TFC have always been ever so 'umble. Of "Don't Look Back", Blake says: "These are new songs, y'know, so there'll be mistakes." There's something contrived about this amateur-night atmosphere, but it works - it makes TFC's proficiency a brilliant surprise.

They finish with the Beatles number "Rain", which shudders through your bones. The song peters out, accompanied by Blake's apologies. It's the perfect end to a perfect show. Teenage Fanclub don't reach conclusions - they're masters of the dot dot dot.

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