In 1988, The Quireboys got
announced as special guests on the Yngwie Friggin' J. Malmsteen UK tour and
I'm still trying to figure out how that happened. As the dates had been announced
some time previously, all the best tickets for St. David's Hall in Cardiff had
been happily scooped up by the fans of fret-wankery, leaving a couple of tickets
up in the Gods for myself and my equally handsome fellow Glitzine scribe Johnny
H. Luckily, St. David's Hall was the easiest venue in history if you fancied
a bit of sneaky sneaky location hopping so, with the help of an old friend (coincidentally
called Ginger), we wound up right at the front of the stage alongside two similarly
rock 'n' roll obsessed guys who we'd never met before - it almost seemed as
if it was just us in a packed theatre who had any idea that the band before
us possessed the true spirit of rock 'n roll, not the bloated histrionics of
a Swedish numbskull and his be-wigged frontman that these other losers were
waiting to see. Fast forward to 2008 and I find myself in the same city alongside
two of those three like-minded people watching another great Quireboys show.
As this show is a rescheduled date we, unfortunately, don't got the entire tour package of Dan Baird and the Homemade Sin and the always excellent Diamond Dogs. This, however, means that tonight is all about The Quireboys and it is something that they seem to revel in. As opener 'Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds' gives way to 'Had Me A Real Good Time'....um...I mean 'Misled', you quickly realise that we're in for something special in a small, sweaty venue that invokes memories of vintage Cardiff moments - seeing Griff's old band Feline Groove support The Dogs D'Amour at the Square Club, finding myself sharing a stage with Paul Guerin's former band Red Dogs in the legendary Bogiez - this is as far removed from seeing The Quireboys support Aerosmith at Wembley Arena as you can possibly get and that, my friends, is a good thing. We get 'Sweet Mary Anne', 'Whipping Boy', a fantastic 'Roses And Rings' with its Faces inspired intro, the excellent 'This Is Rock 'N' Roll', the familiar sound of 'Tramps And Thieves' and great new track 'Mona Lisa Smiled'. Spike remains one of the finest, and most charismatic, frontmen that the UK has ever produced. Guy Griffin is still the best looking guy in the entire room, more than making up for his fellow six-stringer Guerin who looks like he should be sat in the corner of a dusty boozer knocking back scrumpy - he really needs a lady friend to take him aside and introduce him to the virtues of Frizeeze! Sure, there's a Nigel Mogg-sized gap stage left but new bassist Jimi Jimmi is maybe only a dozen shows away from confidently filling that.
Surrounded by a sea of familiar faces from two decades ago and the sight of a vintage Red Dogs flightcase, it really is hard not to get washed away in a flood of nostalgia. Closing the set with 'There She Goes Again', 'Hey You' and '7 O'Clock' and treating us to an encore of 'I Don't Love You Anymore' and 'Sex Party' is like a window back into your teenage years - and it is awesome! But to label The Quireboys a pure nostalgia act would be cruel and unjust. With performances like this they are sure to pull in new fans, adding to their legacy and not just keeping it alive. And there seems to be no better time than the present to be introduced to or reacquainted with the music of The Quireboys, with the cool new album 'Homewreckers & Heartbreakers' now available and a highly impressive new 'Best Of' on the shelves - a whopping forty track affair with a completist's wet dream of demo versions. Alongside these, I will delve into my rock 'n' roll archive and look to dig out those old tapes of classic performances at the Reading festival. What time is it? Time to hear a song without a chorus.....
by Gaz E & Kickass R'N'R Photography by Johnny H-bomb ;-)
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