It was only late last year The Quireboys were this far up north but that last show was in Glasgow but tonight it is a journey on what seems like the longest train trip ever to Bathgate to the home of rock in The Dreadnaught which happily bucks the trend of struggling venues and always brings quality to acts to this small town.
This tour is to celebrate 35 years of The Quireboys and although I don’t quite go that far back with the boys my first live viewing of them was one to remember(and a lot of people say difficult to beat) as it was on the stage of Monsters of Rock in 1990, a day where the young bands reigned supreme.
Of all the times I have seen the band tonight was my first taste of them unplugged and never mind the crowd, the band seemed to enjoy it. You knew from the title of the tour they were going to go through the hits and in this they did not disappoint. They kicked it all off with “There she goes again” and the party had started.
A lot of people will splice this band with a couple of things, 1, a full on energtic show and 2, a Spike with a good belly of liquor and tonight it seems you can scratch both of these things off the list. I loved the show but with such an intimate venue Spike was penned in and tied to the slower vibe but that gave you a chance to focus on some of the amazing songs they have produced over the years. You do not get to a 35 year career on the back of one song.
For me The Quireboys are at their best when the blues oozes from them so “This is it” was a joy to watch. Taken from the latest release Amazing Disgrace it slotted beautifully into the set and Guy Griffin was excellent on guitar. If you have not heard this album yet do yourself a favour and purchase it today. It is the boys at their best.
This was followed up with the classic “Mona Lisa Smiled” and the crowd in this small bar were singing their hearts out like they were all back in the 90s. More classic boys next with “Hello” before bouncing back to the latest release and an almost country song in “Eve of Summertime” and this portrays a band who are now comfortable in their shoes(and bandanas) after all these years. They may not have broken to the heights of the rock world but they have always been there and they play what they like and that continues to bring along the old school fans and plenty of new ones these days.
You know at one point we will come across a drinking song and tonight it starts with “Have a Drink with me”. This is a song that shows the lighter and more chilled out side to the band. I have met Spike a few times over he years and he always struck me as a total gentleman, very down to earth and someone I would have loved to sit down with and have a chat with over a beer, in front of a fire and just talk shit until the sun comes up. Behind the persona you can tell there is a very eloquent and much wiser man that his on stage persona portrays. I would also love to find out the secrets of his retention of his boyish good looks.
You can almost place a bet with the bookies on the closing moments of this band’s show and sure enough we close on “7 O’Clock” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore”. The songs that cement all lovers of this band and to be honest it is always one of the best closing moments to any live show I attend. The Quireboys have done it their way, it may have taken 28 drummers and put Spinal Tap in their place but they sound as good today as they did on that Donnington stage all those years ago.
This is a band of the ages and they are deserving to still be here and going strong just as much as we the fans are happy to see them come back time and again.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie