Bush Hall, London
A night of contrasts for the French synthpop group, as they took to the stage at Bush Hall after some recent rebooking of venues. One guitarist in a ‘I Love Fall Out Boy’ tshirt, the bassist in an AC/DC one, it’s hard to know what to make of this band from the start.
Originally formed as a joke on MySpace by friends three years ago, things have moved on quickly and The Teenagers found themselves recording their debut album ‘Reality Check‘, released last month, and a string of gigs across the world. They have a die-hard following of young fans, who sang along to tracks ‘Love No’, ‘Fuck Nicole‘ and ‘Feeling Better‘, throwing hands in the air and dancing like, well, teenagers.
Having said that, the average age of the crowd was in its 40’s, so it made me wonder if they’d turned up expecting some kind of Serge Gainsborough style, French-accented, spoken word singing about love, women, booze, drugs and casual sex. Well they got part of that.
Frontman Quentin Delafon pointed angular hands around the glitterball lit room, elbows tucked in like he was trying to dance whilst holding a tray of drinks, and spoke/sang about the sordid lifestyle of fucking your step-sister, girls who he’s going to kill for stealing his Jazzmaster, and being young and carefree.
The camp exterior and looks, combined with the poppy-go-lucky music meant the subject matter of the songs is somewhat lost on the younger members of the crowd, who smile and sing along obliviously to the lines, “This fucking bitch deserves to die” and “I fucked my American cunt”.
It’s all tongue in cheek, but the girls who got on stage to help out on vocal duties on ‘Homecoming’, the song that gave The Teenagers their break through track (and with a great video by Kinga Burza), it was a wise decision to keep a backing track of the original female lyrics going, as not only did they seem about 12 years-old, but they didn’t really know any of the words.
Good on The Teenagers though for really engaging the crowd with the show, as best the limited set would let them, and by the end the seemed to have warmed-up from their ‘we’ve only been a band 5 minutes’ personas, to really going for it and cutting themselves on guitar strings from playing too hard. Next time I see them, there won’t be any conflicting messages coming across from the band. They have the songs to back up the hype, they’re young and painfully cool, so let’s just wait until the angst stage has passed and The Teenagers have grown up.