Jun 282022
 

Craig Chisholm reviews Kasabian at The Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen.

Guitarist turned singer, Serge Pizzorno, is a hyperactive and overwhelming presence.

There’s an air of anticipation – and a hint of worry – in the air tonight as Kasabian take to stage for the first time in months in a relatively low key warm up show for their upcoming tour.
There was major upheaval in the Kasabian camp during lockdown that saw lead singer Tom Meighan convicted in court on a rather unsavoury charge of assaulting his then fiancée.

But Kasabian, to their credit, acted quickly and decisively, sacking him from the band and expelling him from their inner circle.

An incident like this may have spelled the end of many a band or, worse, a public show of contrition and the usual carefully worded apology. Not Kasabian, though, who are to be credited with the strong message that separating from their singer sends out.

There’s no messing around tonight. No easing in the crowd gently. No time for reflection or soul searching.

Hitting the stage in disconcerting and overpowering strobe lights they blast into the banging ‘Club Foot’ with such energy that everywhere in a mile radius of the Beach Ballroom must have thought there was an earthquake happening.

Guitarist turned singer, Serge Pizzorno, is a hyperactive and overwhelming presence at the front of the stage.

Moving from side to side, bouncing, running and jumping like a prize fighter in the ring, your eyes are drawn to him and you’re overcome by his intensity and energy.

Any questions regarding his ability to step up to front man – from his usual role of guitarist – or doubts about his voice being able to carry the tunes, are dispelled tonight. He’s a natural frontman, a consummate showman and his voice is perfect for the songs.

Blasting through a 17 song set, the band show they are more ready for their upcoming headline dates and their support slots with Liam Gallagher at Hampden Park and Knebworth among others.

The hits, such as ‘Empire’, ‘Vlad The Impaler’ and ‘Shoot the Runner’ are all played. There’s a live debut for ‘SCRIPTVRE’ from upcoming album ‘The Alchemists Euphoria’ (Due August 5th) and plenty of crowd pleasers in between.

The sprung floor at the Beach Ballroom was tested to its limits tonight and there’ll be a few lugs still ringing the following morning from the aural assault.

Closing with ‘Fire’, the band end a triumphant show that has dispelled any doubts about their future. They’re in for the long haul and will be headlining arenas and festivals for a long time to come.

Set List:

Club Foot
Ill Ray (The King)
Underdog
You’re in Love With a Psycho
ALYGATYR
Shoot the Runner
SCRIPTVRE
Bumblebee
Stevie
Pinch Roller
Treat
Empire
Switchblade Smiles
Vlad the Impaler

Encore:

Bless This Acid House
L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)
Fire

Jun 232022
 

Craig Chisholm reviews The Charlatans and Martin Carr at Aberdeen Music Hall.

The Charlatans are treated as conquering heroes to a partisan crowd.

Has it really been nearly ten years since The Charlatans last played Aberdeen? Last time around they played a run through of their classic album ‘Tellin’ Stories’ and the odd b-side from that phase of their career.

Tonight is also a dive into the past – a retrospective set in support of last year’s compilation album ‘A Head Full of Ideas: The Best of Charlatans’

But before The Charlatans take to the stage for what was supposed to be a 30th – now 32nd – anniversary tour, it’s the turn of former Boo Radleys guitarist and songwriter Martin Carr and his band, What Future, to entertain the crowd.

Most of the crowd seem to be in the bar when they come on but by the end of the set the hall is suitably filled with an audience appreciative of his songwriting skills.

Martin Carr

His bright indie pop still retains a knack for the harmonies and hooks that made Boo Radleys stars in the mid 90s. Leaning heavily on his solo material for the 30 minute set there’s only the one nod to his former band with a closing performance of the brilliant ‘Lazarus’ – which is met with an applause as rapturous to the one given when he says “have a good night – fuck the Tories”.

The Thurso born, Wallasey raised, singer and his band may have won a few more fans tonight with both his music and his politics.

Coming on stage to the pulsating ‘Forever’, The Charlatans are treated as conquering heroes to a partisan crowd.

It’s hit after hit, hook after hook, as they blast through over 100 mins of classics selected from their back catalogue.

The LED backdrop plays videos and shows pictures from the past three decades of their career – ticket stubs, tour posters, old concerts and, poignantly, old footage of late keyboard player Rob Collins and drummer Jon Brooks, who tragically died of a brain tumour in 2013.

But this isn’t a wake, it’s not a simple case of nostalgia and they are certainly not resting on their laurels – this is a band that have embraced all genres, mixed up the past and looked to the future.

From the soulful ‘A Man Needs to be Told’ to the Chemical Brothers infused dance beats of ‘One to Another’ to the Stones-y swagger of ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Over’, it’s a joyous and life affirming set by a band that have never stood still.

Highlights? Everything. There are no mishits, no songs that make you want to go to the bar.

It’s all killer, no filler, as they say.

Closing – as ever – with an extended ‘Sproston Green’, the band leave the stage tired and exhausted as the crowd, reluctantly, leave the exits the in the very same state.

Setlist:

Forever
Weirdo
Can’t Get Out of Bed
Then
So Oh
You’re So Pretty – We’re So Pretty
Sleepy Little Sunshine Boy
Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over
One to Another
Different Days
Future Tense (with Ian Rankin) (Spoken word)
Plastic Machinery
I Never Want an Easy Life If Me and He Were Ever to Get There
A Man Needs to Be Told
The Blind Stagger
The Only One I Know
North Country Boy
How High

Encore:

Sproston Green

Jun 162022
 

Craig Chisholm reviews Pictish Trail and Savage Mansion at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen.

A Pictish Trail show isn’t your run of the mill concert.

It’s a glorious mish mash of one man and his acoustic guitar, a band playing electro-indie-psych-rock and some of the funniest between song anecdotes and asides to the crowd that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and a spring to your step.

Pictish Trail is better known to his Mum as Johnny Lynch. He’s a resident of Eigg, a prolific song writer, the head honcho of the Lost Map record label and, as cliched as it sounds, one of the best live acts around just now.

But before he and his band entertain the crowd, it’s the turn of Lost Map signees Savage Mansion to warm up attendees.

The Glasgow based band play an infectious brand of shambolic indie pop that’s a treat to the ears. There are shades of Pavement in there, a hint of Lou Reed in the vocals, all of which combine to create an enjoyable and listenable experience.

Keyboard player Kate is from Aberdeen and, when put on the spot, is asked to name something good about her hometown. She opts for the number 19 bus, which is given a shout out by singer Craig Angus.

Shout out to Savage Mansion too, for a great set.

Headliner Pictish Trail bravely starts the show with two solo acoustic tracks – ‘Easy With Either’ and ‘Nuclear Sunflower’ before being joined by “Eigg’s sexiest man 2009, Joe” on guitar for another track.

Pictish Trail, of course, moved to Eigg in 2010.

Whereby Joe won the award again, apparently.

This sort of quip is just a precursor for the between song banter and shaggy dog tales, including a tale about a near death experience involving a log filled truck with his passengers, comedians Josie Long and James Acaster.

But the humour and laughs are only a small part of an eclectic and joyful set that shows the breadth and depth of Johnny’s talent.

Songs are well crafted, catchy, and clever. Folkie, indie, danceable but draped in a pop sheen.

As he dances through the crowd at one point, still singing, you’re transported to a place of happiness, an escape from the world and its troubles.

Pictish Trail is no stranger to Aberdeen and hopefully he’ll be back soon – if you can’t wait then be sure to catch him in Glasgow, Dunfermline, Arisaig, Oban, Lockerbie and, more local-ish, Findhorn in August.

Set List:

Easy With Either (Johnny solo)
Nuclear Sunflower Swamp (Johnny solo)
Slow Memories (Johnny and Joe)
Double Sided
Island Family
Far Gone (Don’t Leave)
It Came Back
Melody Something
The River It Runs Inside Of Me
Fear Anchor
Turning Back

Encore:

Natural Successor

Jun 142022
 

Craig Chisholm reviews.

Like every other gig happening just now, it’s a been a long time coming.
It’s been two long years since tickets went on sale for The Modfather’s Music Hall gig.
But Weller hasn’t been sitting idly by – he’s released a couple of albums – On Sunset and Fat Pop Vol 1.

There’s been a live stream – Midsommermusick – and there’s even an orchestral live album out this month.

So, that alone would be a lot to cram into a setlist for the new tour – but add in another 14 solo albums, 5 Style Council albums and another half dozen by The Jam then there’s a wealth of material to choose from.

But if choosing a set from such a large back catalogue is daunting, it must be nothing compared to being the opening act for such an icon.

However, if John Rush is nervous then he doesn’t let it show. In fact, his solo set is a confident and accomplished performance.

Hunched behind an acoustic guitar, absorbed in his songs he is humorous, appreciative and seems genuinely happy to be given the opportunity to perform in front of a decent sized crowd.

His folk-tinged pop tunes go down well, and he even gets a sing-a-long going near the end with the crowd joining in on backing vocals. In front of a crowd that likely didn’t know about him before tonight, he does well and will have gained a few fans.

Striding confidently onto stage in a seasonally appropriate crimson jumper, Weller oozes confidence and is every inch the rock legend.

Flanked by two drummers, a bassist, keyboard player, sax player and, crucially, Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Craddock, he blasts through a set that lasts well over 2 hours but feels like it passes in half that time, such is how enjoyable it is.

It’s a confident and measured set – just enough of the hits to please the more chart minded fans; a couple of tracks by The Jam to send the punk fans home happy; a nod to The Style Council for the 80s fans and a fine spread of solo tracks from the last 30 years for the solo performer fans.

It’s a tricky skill to keep everyone happy but Weller retains that skill whilst ploughing his own furrow, not afraid to cut loose and experiment.

Highlight of the set is a quintet of tracks from the solo commercial high point, the classic ‘Stanley Road’, performed back-to-back – the title track itself, followed by ‘Broken Stones’, ‘The Changingman’, ‘Porcelain Gods’ and a sublime ‘You Do Something to Me’.

But the biggest cheers of the night go to a couple of classics by The Jam – ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ‘A Town Called Malice’ which bring the house down at the end of the night.

An epic set by an epic performer.

Set List:

White Sky
Cosmic Fringes
Peacock Suit
My Ever Changing Moods (The Style Council song)
Hung Up
Saturn’s Pattern
Old Father Tyme
Shout To The Top
Village
More
That Pleasure
Stanley Road
Broken Stones
The Changingman
Porcelain Gods
You Do Something to Me
Still Glides the Stream
Shades of Blue
Above the Clouds
Wild Wood
Brushed
Into Tomorrow
Friday Street
Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)
On Sunset
That’s Entertainment (The Jam song)
Town Called Malice (The Jam song)

May 112022
 

Duncan Harley reviews ‘The Spirit of Banffshire’.

I think it was filmmaker Tom Weir who said that in order to have a future, we also need to have a past. He went on to say that the task of recording the best of Scottish history shouldn’t be made too easy.

After all there were lots of false prophets and folk with political agendas.
But Tom, bless his soul, was only partially correct. The preservation of the best of Scotland can be made really easy.

You just need to throw open the barn doors and invite people to contribute their memories for all to see. And that is exactly what the Banffshire Memories Project has done.

A year or so ago, Andrew Simpson – Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire – sent out a call for stories about historic Banffshire and a shedload of tales flooded his inbox.

Compiled from these stories, in essence this is a book with around one hundred and fifty authors which is a dangerous game if ever there was one. But, unusually for such an ask, the finished product delivers pretty much what it says on the tin.

Compiled especially for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee the book celebrates the history and records the memories of ordinary folk who live and work in what is nowadays termed ‘Historic Banffshire’.

Nowadays in the hands of Moray and Aberdeenshire councils the old county boundaries may have gone, but the memories persist and the spirit of the old county lives on in the hearts of many residents to this day.

Spurred on by editors Andrew Simpson and Eleanor Gillespie, the project has enabled more than a hundred local authors to make it into print; many for the first time ever.

Now at this point I have to declare an interest since the volume includes a couple of my stories. But, in essence, my contribution is just a few paragraphs amongst a mass of tales penned by folk who maybe never imagined such celebrity.

First up is Nan Morrison who recalls watching the 1953 Coronation on a 12-inch black and white television.

“It had a lasting impression on all of us” she writes.

Helen Lyon recalls how Coronation Day in Aberchirder was a public holiday and how folk wrapped up in bonnets and scarves to watch the parade of floats which went around the town.

It was a wet and windy day and she writes that “some of the outdoor events were moved into the Memorial Hall”  and that the schoolchildren got souvenir pencils and mugs.

But its not all about the Coronation. There are memories from wartime and schooldays.

Tarlair art deco swimming pool gets a mention, courtesy of Nan Morrison, and Ann Dean writes about Scalan.

Now, I knew, or thought I knew the history of Scalan. But Ann’s tale is not about the training of priests. It centres around the tale of Sandy Matheson. He worked the place until 1981 and is remembered as perhaps the last Tomintoul link with hand sowing, reaping and stooking.

I could go on. But in the big scheme of things, this is a must have book for anyone even remotely interested in the local history of North East Scotland.

Co-edited with Eleanor Gillespie, Andrew’s book marks the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen with profits being donated to charities associated with those members of the Royal Family who have visited Banffshire over the past seventy years.

Highly recommended. Five stars. Eminently readable.

Fully illustrated (197pp) , The Spirit of Banffshire is available by emailing: Banffshirememories@gmail.com (£12 plus £2.50 p&p)

And from the Banffshire Field Club website @ https://banffshirefieldclub.org.uk/

ISBN: 9781800686670

Apr 142022
 

Mike Shepherd reviews “The Poetry Mannie: The Doric Poetry of Bob Smith, Edited by Duncan Harley.”

The Doric dialect is getting a lot of welcome publicity at the moment, not the least because of the efforts of the Doric Board who have supported the publication of this wonderful book of poems (which is yours for £6.45).

There is something particular to the Doric dialect that lends itself to poetry, even if the roll call for Doric poets is not that long.

Yes, I believe I know what that something could be. Having once been told that English is dismally short of words to express the subtleties of human feeling, and that other languages cope much better by comparison, I reckon this is why we Scots have filled in the gaps with highly-expressive dialect words.

Try, for example, translating the word ‘couthy’ into conventional English using a single sentence. That’s not easy.

And because poetry can be considered a vehicle for expressing the nuances of shared experience, Bob Smith’s Doric poetry certainly does that. To live in North East Scotland is to fully connect with the experience described in the following excerpts:

Saturday Afternoons at Pittodrie watching the League Cup.

A hunner and twenty meenits we did get
Yet naebody cwid fin the bliddy net
A penalty shoot oot wi did hae
Nae goals were scored fae open play

Saturday Nights.

Binge drinking quines – there’s nithing worse
They faa aboot an sweir an curse
Wi hurdies keekin oot their draars
They stumble oot o clubs and bars…

And that peculiar Aberdeen obsession with long-gone shops.

Did ye myn o’ Aberdeen Motors
Faar ye bocht an Austin “Devon”
Div ye myn o’ Isaac Benzie
Faar yer mither wis in heaven…

Or litter.

We hiv a problem in Aiberdeen
Keepin the bliddy pavements clean
Litter strewn fae pillar tae post
Plastic cups an half aeten toast…

To read Bob’s poetry is to laugh out loud, although his more serious poems do tackle subjects such as the bizarre doings of politicians and their chums in this part of the world, or the sublime aspects of nature, place, and landscape as per classical poetry.

Now you will enjoy this book so do buy it. And thanks to Duncan Harley, author of The Little History of Aberdeenshire and other books, for compiling Bob Smith’s engaging poetry.

Enjoy!

Mar 152022
 

Craig Chisholm reviews ‘Nouvelle Vague’ – Lemon Tree, 4th March 2022.

The girl singer covering a rock song in more downbeat, acoustic or similar fashion has become a tired trope over the last few years in the pop landscape.

From Birdy releasing a whole album of whispery covers to the Hawaiian singer Malia J sound-tracking the trailer to Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, the style has become mainstream, familiar and, unfortunately, a bit stale.

However, one band are the original and the best in the genre and bring more to re-interpreted cover versions than a lot of others – a swipe of Parisian cool, a knowledge that they were the original trendsetters and a simple, joyous fun to their live show.

Starting off with both singers deep in the Lemon Tree audience, lit only by a single torch directed from the stage, the band start the show in atmospheric fashion with New Romantic electro classic ‘Fade to Grey’, originally by Visage.

What follows is a peerless 90-minute show that takes in an inspired selection of songs by acts as diverse as Yazoo (‘Don’t Go’), The Cramps (‘Human Fly’), XTC (‘Making Plans for Nigel’) and The Clash (‘Guns of Brixton’) among others.

At their best, Nouvelle Vague subverts and twist the original narratives of the songs and add new meaning and added depth to them.
The masculine toxicity lampooned in Dead Kennedys punk classic ‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ is retooled for the modern era and raises issues of consent when sang by a woman. Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ allows us to see the other perspective of a break down in a relationship, far removed from the original male narrator’s perspective. 

It’s moments like those that make you stop and think, to re-analyse the song and the song writer – what is the meaning of Generation X’s ‘Dancing with Myself’ when sang by a woman? What does a female perspective bring to The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’?

All valid questions and the punters will all have their own opinions or ideas if they stopped to consider the song in question. However, it’s also a Friday and time to unwind – and The Specials ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’ is an appropriate choice, with its tales of drunken abandon and living for the moment.

The range of musical styles in their interpretations also adds to the occasion – whilst they are steeped in the Nouvelle Vague’s original Bossa Nova style, they’re not scared to let go with wild disco abandon or an introspective acoustic led style.

Entertainment is ultimately the name of the game and theatrical flourishes such as synchronised movement by the singers, a toast with a glass of wine before ‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ and a spirited kazoo solo during ‘Human Fly’ make a good show.

The band close their set with Modern English’s ‘I Melt Into You’, an appropriate and timely song with current events in Ukraine, which was written originally under the fear of nuclear war and depicting a couple making love as the bomb drops.

But such weighty topics are no excuse to not party and have a good time – and Nouvelle Vague easily provide that and leave a Friday night crowd in Aberdeen more than happy to carry on socialising into Saturday morning.

Setlist:
Fade to Grey (Visage cover)
Blue Monday (New Order cover)
Dancing With Myself (Generation X cover)
Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) (Buzzcocks cover)
Making Plans for Nigel (XTC cover)
Too Drunk to Fuck (Dead Kennedys cover)
Teenage Kicks (The Undertones cover)
Human Fly (The Cramps cover)
All My Colours (Zimbo) (Echo & the Bunnymen cover)
The Guns of Brixton (The Clash cover)
Enola Gay (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark cover)
Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads cover)
Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode cover)
Heaven (The Psychedelic Furs cover)
Bela Lugosi’s Dead (Bauhaus cover)
Friday Night, Saturday Morning (The Specials cover)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover)

Encore:
Don’t Go (Yazoo cover)
In a Manner of Speaking (Tuxedomoon cover)
I Melt With You (Modern English cover)

Dec 192021
 

Duncan Harley Reviews ‘North East Scotland At War’ 2 by Alan Stewart.

There are plenty of books out there which record the difficult years between the 1938 Chamberlain peace accord and the Soviet conquest of Berlin. Osborne’s ‘Defending Britain’ and Gordon Barclay’s ‘If Hitler Comes’ are the classics.
But this book is slightly different and there is certainly room for further historical accounts of the dark days when Hitler threatened our shores.

A year or so ago I reviewed Alan Stewart’s first book. Titled ‘North East Scotland at War’.

Five years in the making, the publication took a decidedly local slant and launched the reader into the minutiae of the defence of the North East against what was, for a brief few years, perceived as the Nazi threat.

The archaeology of those distant times was laid bare for perhaps the first time in a single local volume and various documents which record those difficult days inhabited the pages. At the time of publication, Alan was already working on Volume Two and that has now been published.
Relentless detail and an eye for wartime links to the North East of Scotland characterise this new book.

Subtitled ‘Events and Facts 1939-1945’, that is exactly what is contained in the text.

When reviewing book one, I glossed over the typos and the difficult grammar in favour of the content. In the big scheme of things, it contained shedloads of information gleaned from years of research and plus many previously unknown or forgotten stories.

Book two, I am happy to say, contains many fewer issues and is certainly worth a read.

Spanning years of research and containing many local wartime stories, Alan Stewart’s new book ‘North East Scotland at War 2’ will appeal to anyone even remotely interested in the history of the North East of Scotland.

Profusely illustrated and replete with a plethora of new information gleaned from both local and national records, this is a local history book which I am pleased to include on my bookshelves.

North East Scotland at War 2 – by Alan Stewart is available from the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen @ £21.99.

Cover image © Alan Stewart

Oct 212021
 

Review and photographs by Craig Chisholm.

Sunderland art-rockers, Field Music, returned to Aberdeen after a 9 year hiatus to play to a receptive crowd at The Tunnels on Carnegie Brae. Having released their 8th studio album – Flat White Moon – last April the band would have been relieved to finally get the show on the road in support of it, with this date being the opening night of a full UK tour.

First up, however, was local musician Steven Milne.

The Little Kicks frontman was drafted in early that afternoon after original support act – Galaxians – were unable to perform.

Milne is at pains to point out this is his first live appearance in 19 months. Coupled with the late call up, it could have proved to be a recipe for disaster.

However, he is nothing but naturally talented and that talent shone through in his solo performance.

Sitting behind a keyboard, he was captivating and engrossing as he ran through a set of Little Kicks tracks and a cover version of The Blue Nile’s ‘Tinseltown in the Rain’.
And it’s a credit to his song writing skills that his own material more than held its own even beside the sublime Blue Nile track.

A new Little Kicks album is due for April and should be on everyone’s shopping lists.

Brothers Peter and David Brewis have released 8 albums in the last 16 years under the moniker Field Music and tonight’s gig showcases songs across that time span.

Swapping roles between vocals / guitar and drums, there’s a real chemistry and understanding between the two siblings.

The music, the humour – it’s all interchangeable and on the same level between and during tracks. They’re the anti-Gallagher’s in that respect – brothers in music with no friction or individual ambition tearing them apart.

But that’s where the comparison begins and ends – the Brewis brother’s music isn’t steeped in conservative, classic rock, like Noel and Liam are, but in art-rock futurism and forward thinking of bands such as Talking Heads or Scritti Politti.

The set itself leans heavily on the recently released ‘Flat White Moon’ but there’s a dive into their back catalogue, with tracks such as ‘A House is not a Home’ and ‘(I Keep Thinking) About a New Thing’ given an airing.

Personal highlight for this correspondent was ‘Disappointed’, a near perfect pop tune steeped in a light funk backbeat.

The late, great musical genius Prince once tweeted their track ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’ without comment to his millions of followers – and that says a lot.

If anyone could recognise good music, you’d expect it from someone like him.

And the crowd recognise it tonight – it’s a magnificent set that has them clapping enthusiastically and begging for more.

After a good few years without a visit North to the Granite City, it was a joy to see them here again – hopefully they return sooner than later.

Oct 202021
 

Review and photographs by Craig Chisholm.

Just over three decades ago, The Quireboys released their debut album ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’.

Tonight, they revisited their commercial high point with a date at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen.

First however, the crowd are entertained by up-and-coming slide guitarist Troy Redfern, backed with drummer Finn McAuley and bassist Keira Kenworthy.

Redfern is a virtuoso guitarist.

His guitar fireworks are astonishing to watch, his fingers running up and down the fretboard fluidly and gracefully.

But it’s not just a show in histrionics and shredding, it’s raw, gritty, heartfelt blues filled with emotion and belief.

Watching him, you know that he believes in the music he is singing, that he feels it – and that’s important.

It shows authenticity and a love for the genre.

For him to light up the guitar, he needs a strong groove and foundation to sit upon and his rhythm section are more than up to the job – they provide a solid, thunderous backbone to Redfern’s solos and slide guitar masterclass.

Closing his half hour set with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s classic ‘Voodoo Chile’ you can see he’s made some new fans in the audience, many of whom are queued up minutes later to meet him and purchase his music.

“It’s 7 O’clock and time for a party” as their song goes – well, it’s not, it’s 9 o’clock when they hit the stage, but the party is most definitely on.

It’s been over 31 years now since their debut album ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’ was released.

It was halcyon times for the band back then – the album hit no.2 in the charts, singles went Top 40. There were support slots with the likes of Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, on the bill of the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington, appearances on Top of The Pops and huge headline tours of the UK, Europe and beyond.

But time moves on and tastes change – at the height of grunge in the early 90s, the band parted ways and went on an extended hiatus for a few years.

But The Quireboys are nothing but tenacious and not ones to shy away from a challenge.

Certain musical styles never go away either – and in the case of their bluesy, classic rock it’s a style that will always have its fans.

And the fans are out tonight as they revisit their debut, changing the running order to bring new focus on old songs and remind everyone why they had so much success with it.

The singles are all greeted with cheers – ‘7 O’Clock’, ‘Hey You’ and ‘There She Goes Again’ working the crowd on the frenzy and getting them dancing.

And there’s moments of poignancy and reflection such as the emotional ballad ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’.

‘Whipping Boy’ is a particular highlight – low down and dirty slow blues, underpinned with some bass that reverberates through your soul.

The band seem to be enjoying it – lead singer Spike seems particularly happy to be on stage again after Covid’s shutdown of live music.

Between songs he’s humorous and friendly, speaking directly to members of the crowd, always with a twinkle in his eye.

He also seems to be slightly lubricated; shall we say – despite his quips about having not drank for 10 years.

But it’s Friday night and most of the crowd are on the same level as him and it endears him to them even more.

Once a song starts, however, he is back to being the professional showman and singer. Every song is nailed perfectly, not a note dropped or lyric forgotten. And his voice, that raspy, 20 fags a day sound is spot on.

Despite tonight being a celebration of the past, it also points that there’s a strong future for the band – their unique take on that classic Stones or Faces sound, rooted in the blues, R&B and Country will always have listeners. And with over a dozen albums behind them and the potential for a dozen more, so will The Quireboys.