It goes without saying that Off Yer Rocka and HRH Blues legends The Quireboys are one of the finest exports to come out of Tyneside since Newcastle Brown Ale.
Having recently returned from the continent, and a tour of Spain, Newcastle’s very own prodigal sons are back on home turf for what is always a special event in the North East gig calendar.
As the proverb goes ‘home is where the heart is’, and that’s certainly the case for The Quireboys. Frontman Spike informs the audience that he has recently moved back to the region – well Gateshead to be precise, but the Riverside Newcastle crowd don’t hold that against him or their neighbours on the southern side of the River Tyne.
With a balmy evening and temperatures in the twenties, The Quireboys have certainly brought the weather home with them for this evening’s unplugged show. However, despite the unseasonably hot climate for the North East, unlike this evening’s musical presentation their on-stage attire as ever is anything but stripped back. Frontman Spike arrives bedecked in his cream suit, waistcoat, colourful bandana and scarf, and looks the epitome of cool as he takes to the stage and declares ‘We are The Quireboys and this is acoustic rock and roll’.
The Quireboys truncated lineup, which is missing their rhythm section on this run, perform largely from bar stools perched up at the front of the stage. Although the latter is largely redundant for Spike, as they say, you can’t keep a good man down. And the effervescent frontman chooses to perform standing up throughout. Without a shadow of doubt, his engaging persona and witty banter radiates around the Riverside Newcastle all night long.
This evening’s show is very much a representation of the old and the new during a set which is rich in classics and peppered with deep cuts. Spike declares that it is their intention to cover as much ground as possible, and their fans couldn’t ask for more than that.
With a new album under their belts in the shape of Amazing Disgrace, The Quireboys chose to proudly showcase their latest offering. Many of these tracks are so fresh that they’ve never been performed live before, and as such receive their musical debut this evening. The band may well be flying without a safety net in that respect – Spike even jokes that the sheet music stand to his right has been left on stage by another band.
New song “Eve of the Summertime” feels perfectly fitting on a night such as this, and could well be a future classic in the making. Whereas the stripped back arrangements of crowd-pleasers such as the beautiful “Mona Lisa Smiled”, a blues-soaked rendition of “Whippin’ Boy”, and a country-tinged airing of “Sweet Mary Ann” give these tried and tested fan favourites a new lease of life.
A foot stomping, blues fuelled performance of “7 O’Clock” rounds out The Quireboys career spanning main set. Of course, the show would not be complete without “I Don’t Love You Anymore” – a fitting conclusion to the group’s incredible seventeen song setlist.
Upon reflection of the dichotomy raised by the Geordie outfit’s latest album title, this reviewer would argue that The Quireboys are still amazing – most definitely, a disgrace – certainly not.