Last night saw Derry rocking to its very own musical legends, The Undertones. The Derry punk legends Michael Bradley, John O’Neill, Damian O’Neill, Billy Doherty and Paul McLoone brought the home audience to their feet with a classic musical trip down memory lane.
Prior to the gig I was outside watching as everyone arrived. It was a real treat to see young and old arrive together. At one stage I heard a young girl say, ‘Grandad I’ll wait here for my friend’. What a real family occasion it was turning out to be. There was of course the DM clad folk and the bomber jackets were out in force. Punk was back in town and The Undertones were at the fore!
From the onset at 10pm it was classic after classic and the home crowd were transported back in time. My Perfect Cousin opened the show. Young and old danced, clapped, jumped to the music. A little piece of musical heaven was happening in Derry. Immediately followed by The Girls don’t like it and Jump Boys, it was a never ending river of song from the crowd.
I had wondered how this band would sound live (my first time seeing) minus the original Fergal Sharkey but I needn’t have worried. Paul McLoone was every bit the star front man and vocally gave it all (albeit with bad throat and ill health). McLoone has taken over where Sharkey left off and excels not only in his vocals but in his sheer showmanship on stage. And on the Derry stage he was no stranger. The crowd loved him. And he loved them!
When the now Derry anthem Teenage Kicks set off, St. Columbs Hall was alive with musical genius. Watching the crowd from behind I could only see a swell of heads and arms punching to the music. The Undertones really were ‘back in town’ on this night.
On completion of I Don’t Wana get over You, the lads left the stage saying the show was over. This audience were not deterred. The Undertones were not getting out of there alive if this was the case. A chant of ‘olé’ errupted and out walked the guys once more. We wanted more, and they did too! Michael Bradley announced that they had ‘poured some Lourdes water down Pauls’ throat’ and so were ready to go again.
Throughout the night each and every audience member tried to help Paul outrun his bad throat. There was certainly more than just Paul McLoone with sore throats last night as the gig came to an end around 11.30pm. I know mine was certainly hoarse but worth it in every way.
Let’s Talk about Girls rounded off the night. It rounded off a memorable night with one of the finest bands ever to come out of not only Derry, but Ireland in general. Punk will live on thanks to the wonderful music of The Undertones. Derry will forever be on the world music map, thanks to The Undertones. And many like myself will have a musical memory forever thanks to last night and The Undertones. Here’s to many more of the same over 2016 as the band celebrate their 40th anniversary.
The Undertones were supported last night by local band, The Gatefolds.