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In Concert: The Vaselines at 9:30 Club

The Vaselines: cute songs, blue humor. (Kyle Gustafson/ FTWP)

By Mark Jenkins

There are two ways to sell modest, strummy pop-punk songs -- with great fervor or with good humor. Unsurprisingly, the Vaselines chose the latter strategy Saturday night at the 9:30 Club. Reunited Scottish rockers Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee always had their tongues somewhat in cheek, and are now more than two decades removed from such early outbursts as "Oliver Twisted." Touring with a fellow Glasgow band, Teenage Fanclub, the Vaselines seemed to spend as much time bantering as playing songs from their two albums, 1989's "Dum Dum" and the new "Sex With an X."

Looking almost demure in a red dress, McKee provided a steady flow of bawdy comments. "Why haven't we ever had sex?" she asked Fanclub's Norman Blake (who was in the brief-lived Child Molesters with McKee some 25 years ago) when he arrived to play bike horn during "Molly's Lips." Kelly chattered less, but sang plenty of acid remarks in such tunes as "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" (one of the Vaselines numbers famously covered by Nirvana) and "I Hate the '80s," a fine new song with an unprintable punch line.

Kelly switched ably between the rough older songs (which he's complained are now hard for him to play) and recent material that allowed him to demonstrate expanded guitar prowess. In many ways, the new stuff was better.

But when the Vaselines boosted the fervor factor to close their set, it was with such artless vintage ravers as "Son of a Gun" and "Dying for It.''

By Mark Jenkins  | October 4, 2010; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  9:30 club, teenage fanclub, the vaselines  
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