Jonny is the chosen name for the partnership between Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and former Zygotic Mynci Euros Childs. This gig at the Brighton Ballroom is the first of their current tour and comes just three days after the release of their eponymous debut album.
Performing as a duo (presumably the current climate of austerity means that they can’t afford to take their drummer and bassist on tour) these elder statesmen of indie pop take to the stage armed with acoustic guitars, keyboards and a couple of drum machines. Blake looks more geography teacher teacher than pop singer in glasses, jeans and jumper whilst Childs looks exactly the same as he did ten years ago with Gorkys (I think he might have been wearing then same ill-fitting faded t-shirt that he wore when I saw them in 1999).
Jovial and warm from the start they kick-off with the album opener ‘Wich is Wich’ and immediately win you over with music that is (unless you are the NME it seems) impossible not to like. The strength of the duo is that Childs has added some frivolity and quirkyness to Blake’s earnest songwriting and Blake has added some restraint and classic melody to Childs’s shambolic psyche-pop. This is showcased beautifully in the single ‘Candyfloss’ which canters along with simple infectious melody and superb vocal harmony from the pair.
Their is a refreshing lack of professionalism on stage which adds to the enjoyment of the show. It is a fun evening and the forgotten lyrics, false starts and temperamental drum machine seem to relax the crowd and fit with the mood of the evening.
This isn’t to say that we don’t see a quality performance. The vocals in particular are great, a Celtic Stills and Nash, and the melodies are good enough and the playing solid enough to carry the tunes. A few songs stand out on the album and were just as good live. ‘You Was Me’ is as good as anything on the last two Teenage Fanclub albums and the aforementioned ‘Candyfloss’ is simply a great pop song.
The encore (our two hosts declining the walk to the changing room and opting to assume an encore would happen anyway) consisted of Teenage Fanclub classic ‘I Don’t Want Control of You’ (featuring the best key change in pop) and a typically eccentric Euros Childs solo song. A nice way to round off a very enjoyable, and pretty unique evening of music.