An (unpublished) review from March this year……
TELEVISION PERSONALITIES @ The Betsey Trotwood, London
‘It’s like punk never happened’ spits Dan Treacy as the small but devoted crowd at this intimate venue fail to join in with his version of the Who’s ‘substitute’. In fairness to those assembled, it’s one of a slew of awkward, ‘don’t know where to look’, moments in a set that swings wildly between belligerent crowd-baiting and sharp self-deprecation. Fortunately, Treacy’s back catalogue of sweetly melodic songs still sparkle with equal parts aggression and romantic longing, more than making up for a lack of finesse and his state of mild (ahem) inebriation.
Over the space of two sets (one acoustic and one electric, with the drummer from support band Golden Boots roped in), Treacy and guitarist/bassist Mike Stone draw heavily on the band’s late 70’s/80’s output. ‘Part-time punks’ sounds as biting and witty as ever, while ‘Silly girl’ and ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’, from 1981 debut ‘And don’t the kids just love it’, also receive an airing. ‘Someone to share my life with’ is as heartbreaking and tender as it was on first listen, silencing some of the previously boisterous male 30-somethings in the room. If you looked very closely you could even see the odd tear being discreetly wiped away. ‘Good and faithful servant’ is as perfect an indie-pop song as you’re ever likely to hear. New songs ‘Girl from nowhere’ and ‘Funny he never married’ were played early on and received an enthusiastic response.
Television Personalities have been going through a mini renaissance since their return from hiatus in 2004 and from tonight’s performance it’s easy to see why. While he may carry the air of a disgruntled old punk, taking (wholly justifiable) pot shots at some of today’s musical heroes – Doherty, The Killers, etc -Treacy still brims with a barely disguised passion and vulnerability. It’s hard not to sympathise when a particularly loathsome younger member of the crowd makes a very loud and indiscreet reference to the singer’s reported history of drug abuse. Last weeks high profile support slot with MGMT at London’s Heaven club will have surely given him the confidence to take such asides on the chin.