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Live review: The Undertones, Playhouse, Whitley Bay

THE UNDERTONES ... got this year's Mouth of the Tyne festival off to a great start.
THE UNDERTONES ... got this year's Mouth of the Tyne festival off to a great start.

TRACK one on side one of The Undertones’ debut album is Family Entertainment.

And that’s just what the Derry boys served up last night as they opened this year’s Mouth of the Tyne Festival.

For while the majority of the crowd won’t see 40 again – or many of them 50 for that matter – it was the young ones they had in tow who will probably remember this gig most.

In the safe confines of the all-seated Playhouse, there was no chance of them being trampled underfoot or pogo-ed on, and everyone had a great view.

The little girl along from me made up for all the old punks who sat sedately by bouncing up and down to the likes of the aforementioned Family Entertainment and Jimmy Jimmy.

She must have been all of seven years old, and I applaud her parents for bringing her up on ‘proper’ music.

The lad in the front row, who was asked his name, how old he was and what he’d like as the last song, won’t forget the night in a hurry either.

He got his wish: the wonderfully-silly B-side Mars Bars to end the show, and drummer Billy Doherty’s sticks as an early 12th birthday gift for next week.

It was that sort of night: perfect pop-punk tunes delivered with gusto by a band who have been doing it for 35 years, and still love every minute of it.

Original singer Feargal Sharkey is long gone, but replacement Paul McLoone’s energy and stage presence (part-Morrissey, part-Jarvis Cocker) means he’s not missed.

From the opening My Perfect Cousin to Mars Bars 75 minutes later, they trawled to and fro through their back catalogue of pop-punk gems, with the biggest cheers reserved, of course, for Teenage Kicks.

It probably wasn’t the best song of the night – for me that fell to a thundering You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It), but it was certainly the most-loved.

It’s five years since The Undertones last played on Tyneside – I hope they don’t leave it as long until the next time.