Hanoi Rocks/Spike Live @ JB's, Dudley (UK) - 4th February 2008

When the "Quireboys" first split back in the early 90's I really did expect to see "Spike" sailing to the top of the charts as a solo performer, it seemed the safe money option. However his subsequent career path now sees him more akin to say "Frankie Miller" than "Rod Stewart", which might mean less fame and fortune for ole "Spike" but at least he isn't now doing big band show tunes having long since sold his soul for the lure of the filthy lucre.

So, called in at very short notice for tonight's support gig (to cover an ill "Soho Dolls"). The now Midlands based "Quireboy", took the opportunity to grab the seemingly grateful audience by the gonads (and hooters) and play 30 odd minutes of rootsy rock n' roll from his "It's A Treat To Be Alive" album.

Fronting a one-rehearsal mish mash of a backing band made up of certain "Quireboys" and various other Midlands band members was never going to be easy. But you would have been hard pushed to spot any cracks in the 5-piece delivery of tunes like "Have a Drink On Me" from the aforementioned solo album. The banter was as per usual thick and fast with Mr Gray recanting gags about not being able to understand a word said to him by his brummie partners in grime, or the fact that the clothes he had on were the same as those he was wearing on the DVD he had at the merch booth for sale (actually he was wearing the same clothes as when I saw him supporting Yngwie Malmsteen back in 1988…smelly git.)

"Spike" truly was on superb form laying waste to the "Frankie Miller" classic "Be Good to Yourself" with ease, his semi permanent can of Red Stripe in hand, and voice set to "pebble dash", this was indeed a joy to behold. The seemingly briefest of support slots was rounded off with two (sex) party classics, in the shape of "There She Goes Again" and "7 O'clock" and suddenly my recently purchased ticket for the May UK Tour with "Dan Baird" and "Diamond Dogs" seemed all the more of a bargain purchase.

Now, as fellow Glitziner "Kat" has previously extolled the virtues (and vice) of "Hanoi Rocks" on this tour, and as the set list remained largely unchanged in Dudley, I'll just leave you to read her comments regarding the set. But this was one of the tightest and most professional performances I've seen from Messer's "Monroe and McCoy" of late. The adequately full JB's has always been a choice venue for "The Muddy Twins" so to see them relaxed and confident ripping through songs old and (more especially) new easily offset the slight dissatisfaction I felt having to queue in line with the "brassius monkeyius" (from the nearby legendary zoo) awaiting my balls to be brazed back on, such was the freezing climate of the night.

Special mention should go out to "Conny" and "Andy AC" for now taking their roles as "The Vagabond Rogue and the Shaolin Master" and making them a part of "Hanoi Rocks" history, "Conny" in particular is a fantastic foil to "Andy McCoy's" Keef tendencies and ensures the ship stays on rock n' roll course. Of course this is the last Hanoi tour of duty for drummer "Lacu" who has become something of a fans fave behind the skins, and his enthusiasm is self evident in driving home such classics as "Motorvatin" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" with the reverence they justly deserve.

Where "Hanoi Rocks" go from here I'm not sure.

This was a fine performance supporting by far their best "reunion" album in the shape of "Street Poetry". But they are loosing a valuable member in the shape of "Lacu" and I've heard some pretty wild rumours of who is replacing him.

So my sticky fingers are firmly crossed that "Street Poetry" will just be a springboard for the next stage of "Hanoi Rocks'" evolution. Possibly the "Hanoi Erectus" age?

by Johnny H.

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