The Teenagers at Neumo’s, Seattle | 20 January 2007
The Teenagers have, hands down, the best looking drummer I have ever seen. There, now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can talk about how much fun this show was. Neumo’s last Saturday night felt like you were at some kind of frat party in the movies. There were a couple dj’s spinning cd’s getting everyone dancing, local band the Pharmacy playing a really tight set (much better than when I last saw them open for the 1990’s) and then finally internet/blog hypsters the Teenagers coming on around midnight. I wasn’t sure what to expect from these guys, and when I saw a couple of them huddling on stage around one of the amps, looking like they were discussing how to turn it on and then each of them bringing out what looked like manuals on how to operate their instruments I was wondering if they actually new what they were doing.
All of my doubts were allayed as soon as they started playing. Opening with Starlette Johansen and then straight into Feeling Better, they sounded great. There were a whole lot less of the the electronics that you hear on the record, and whole lot more guitar, double the guitar actually. Where they are a trio on record, live they are a quintet, adding the afore mentioned drummer and another guitarist, a girl as well and cute too. Masquerading, or at least living in the UK, The Teenagers are French, but musically they look to the 80’s a lot in their sound, with New Order like guitar (Feeling Better), The Cure moodiness (Sunset Beach), and Human League synths (Make It Happen) to name a few influences. You tend not to notice the music because of the snotty, umm, adolescent lyrics of singer Quentin Delafon’s who reminds me of a Eurotrash version of Art Brut’s Eddie Argos. But last night it was really hard to hear a lot of them, because of the guitars overpowering Quentin a lot of the time. For Homecoming they asked for volunteers from the audience to sing the San Diego cheerleader part, saying it didn’t matter if she new the lyrics, you know…whatever, who cares. Even though you could hardly hear the lyrics, no one seemed to care, since everyone there already new them.
Live, they don’t come off as the pretentious hipster types they portray on their record. The Teenagers are an earnest band that just want to have a good time. Their feel good, naive anthems can’t help but put a smile on your face, and the musicianship was a pleasant surprise. The Teenagers are all about rocking out and throwing an excellent party.
Set List: they played everything from the album except for French Kiss and Wheel of Fortune. Kinda bummed they didn’t do French Kiss, so here it is:
buy: The Teenagers – Reality Check (digital only, no hard copy until March)
Here are the rest of the North American Dates:
Jan 22 – ECHO – LOS ANGELES
Jan 23 – SPACELAND – LOS ANGELES
Jan 24 – 330 RITCH – SAN FRANCISCO
Jan 26 – SONOTHEQUE – CHICAGO
Jan 27 – SOCIAL – TORONTO
Jan 29 – JUST FOR LAUGHS – MONTREAL
Jan 30 – MERCURY LOUNGE – NEW YORK
Jan 31 – HIRO BALLROOM – NEW YORK
Feb 1 – PURE – PHILADELPHIA
Feb 2 – STUDIO B -NEW YORK