They formed in 1975 (!) and despite originally disbanding in 1983 are now into their 36th year. Having fallen out with original singer Feargal Sharkey, they’ve been performing with singer Paul McLoone on vocals since 1999, who like the rest of the band is also from Derry.
It’s the first time I’ve seen them without Feargal Sharkey on lead vocals, and it’s hard to imagine all those classic songs without his very distinct and unique vocal style.
The songs really stand the test of time though. Between brothers John and Damian O’Neill on guitars and Billy Doherty on drums they always had a knack of writing witty, incisive songs with great hooks. Paul McLoone does a great job in leading us through this sing-a-longa-Undertones gig and the sold out crowd are the definition of the word enthusiastic.
They play all the classic stuff, starting with their first album “The Undertones” from 1979 played in track listing order. Still sounding great with songs like “Male model”, “Jimmy Jimmy” and “Here comes the Summer”, I’d forgotten what a great debut album it was. Interestingly, their absolute classic “Teenage Kicks” was not on the original album (although it was their first single) so they don’t include it in this part of the set but of course they play it later.
Once the debut album is dispensed with, they’ve still got plenty of great songs to play so we get to hear “My perfect cousin”, “Get over you”, “You’ve got my number”, “Wednesday Week” and “Got to have you back”.
I always thought they were one of the best bands in the UK during their heyday.The soundtrack to my school days at an Irish Catholic grammar school, it was perfect hearing these great songs again. Check ’em out if you get the chance.
And Feargal Sharkey’s current role as CEO of UK Music (formerly British Music Rights)