The Quireboys – Manchester Academy 3, 16th November 2014

The Quireboys
The Quireboys

For the fourth time this year I headed out to see The Quireboys, although the first time at this particular venue, this year. So far an acoustic show at  Sheffield Corporation, a full band show at The Picturedrome, Holmfirth and I was lucky enough to get tickets for one of their 30th Anniversary shows at The Half Moon, Putney so it would be fair to say that I’m already a fan of their music. I also like the Adacemy 3, it’s a cracking venue in the complex of four venues at Manchester University. Not particularly great for photographs as it’s fairly dark and dingy but that isn’t my main reason for going to a gig, and I prefer dark and dingy sweaty dives anyway! A rainy Sunday in Manchester, going head to head with Volbeat, who were playing the Academy 1 that day, and playing the day upon which many people, who may have gone otherwise, were returning from Hard Rock Hell in Pwllheli could have meant a wash out. It wasn’t, there was a decent turn out for The Quireboys tonight as they played the second night of the UK leg of their Black Eyed Sons, World Tour.

preachers son
Preachers Son

There were two support acts, the first on the bill being Preachers Son from Dublin. Fronted by bass player Brian Hogan, who is indeed the son of a Preacher Man. Mark on guitars has a Black Crowes look about him and was wearing a red and white spotted shirt which matched his red guitar . The other guitarist Sarah, a stunningly attractive blonde. Brian himself was all in black with a mass of dark curly hair with Geoff on drums blending into the background in a khaki shirt, not that his drumming was non-de script just that the drummer is often at the back of the stage getting blocked from one’s view. Brian had some fierce screams and after a couple of songs he told us they’d just swum over from Ireland. He either hadn’t dried his hair or it was dripping with sweat already! I thought Angel was a bit Iggy Pop with Sarah, on backing vocals, sounding very like Avril Lavigne. Brian introduced the band, saying he himself was Batman ‘Good citizens would you like to ride with Batman tonight?’ Any reference to Batman always has me thinking of Del Boy and Rodney as Batman and Robin in a trusty Robin Reliant and I certainly wasn’t going to Gotham City, on a three wheeler, and missing the band I’d come to see!  Anyway back to the band, their penultimate song Come On was a rousing number with some screaming riffs, something like a cross between Nickleback and Thin Lizzy. Then we came to the last song Jericho with a heavy bass line, a good beat and lot’s of Zombie Nation Whoa Oh Ohs, although with a more bluesy edge. Brian thanked us for listening and said we could get CDs from the merchandise stand outside. A good opening set from the lads (and lass) from across the pond.

preachers son3
Preachers Son

Set List:
Should Have Been Gone
This Time of Life
Weeping World
Somebody Down
Come On

preachers son2
Sarah – Preachers Son

Band Members:
Brian Hogan – Vocals/Bass
Geoff French – Drums
Mark Walsh – Guitars
Sarah Michelle McInerney – Guitars

Preachers Son on Facebook:


Vargas Blues Band
Vargas Blues Band

The next band on the bill the Vargas Blues Band came over from Spain, well most of them, singer Gaz Pearson was from a little closer to home and asked ‘Anyone from Rochdale?’ Formed in 1991 the band have released a host of albums (see discography)  They’ve toured widely and appeared at various festivals including an appearance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Vargas, looking very much like a pirate in his black bandana and Gaz with a mass of strawberry blonde curly hair to rival that of Quireboy Paul Guerin. Opening track Rolling In Trance reminded me of The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues with Javier’s guitar sounding almost keyboardy (don’t think that’s a word but you get the idea) in places. He used a slide for a lot of the songs. The next track Promised Land reminiscent of bands like Wishbone Ash or Cream. Jailbait at the Crossroads maybe! Gaz introduced us to the band and told us that the drummer Peter Kunst is from Holland and that really is his name! Gaz asked if we liked the old drum kit, which he said he’d had since he was fifteen, and they were using it, as it was too expensive for Peter to bring his own kit over from Spain. I take it the Dutchman now lives in Spain, and the drum kit was at least thirty! Gaz is a great performer and a very sexy dancer and I couldn’t help noticing that his pants were very tight! Penultimate song Black Cat Boogie was another Doors style number then Gaz said ‘I don’t know what time it is’ and some joker shouted ‘Bedtime’ to which he replied ‘How old are you? Is it 7 O’Clock? I thought it might be!’ and they finished their set with Ride Baby Ride with a Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry (covered by The Beatles) vibe. A good set from the Spanish/Lancastrian* quartet leaving everyone warmed up and ready for The Quireboys. I spoke to the guys after and wrote down the set list provided from their memory, and my scrawled notes, so the songs may have been played in a slightly different order during the gig.
(*technically Rochdale is now in Greater Manchester before anyone points that out!)

Vargas Blues Band
Vargas Blues Band

Set List:
Rolling In Trance
Promised Land
Palace of the King
Let Go
I Want You to Love Me
Black Cat Boogie
Ride Baby Ride
Texas Tango

Vargas Blues Band
Vargas Blues Band

Band Members:
Javier Vargas – Guitar
Gaz Pearson – Vocals
Luis Mayol – Bass and backing vocals
Peter Kunst – Drums and backing vocals




Vargas Blues Brothers on Facebook:

The Quireboys
The Quireboys

The Quireboys took to the stage two hours later than 7 O’Clock, which could only mean one thing – Trouble with a capital T! Not literally but their opening song was Troublemaker from the album which is also the name of this tour ‘Black Eyed Sons‘, a song which could have been Rod Stewart singing a Bon Scott era AC/DC song, as it reminded me of something from the mighty DC’s ‘Powerage’ album say Down Payment Blues meets Gimme a Bullet.

The Quireboys had their usual Gypsy charm, Spike in thick black guy-liner and his custom bandana, Guy Griffin still the same as ever but now with facial hair, which is no bad thing (in my humble opinion), Paul with his mane of strawberry blonde hair and a bandaged finger, Keith was at the back in the dark but I think I could just about make out the glasses and hat. Then the two younger guys, who have been on all the UK tours with them recently, Nick Mailing looking very stylish is a waistcoat and hat and the youngest (I think) honorary Quireboy Dave McCluskey in a t-shirt with a mane of strawberry blonde hair to match Paul’s!

The Quireboys
The Quireboys

Spike announced ‘We’re The Quireboys and this is Rock ‘n’ Roll’ although that song was to come later as they launched into Too Much of a Good Thing I then went to use my photopass in the pit for the third song, but the bouncer insisted it was the fourth song and wouldn’t have it that Misled was only the third song, so I never got to get any up close and personal sweaty shots, and I wasn’t going to waste time arguing when I had a gig to review! Spike said he hadn’t realised it was a Sunday and if there was any day of the week you needed a drink it was a Sunday. He then mentioned Paul Guerin’s broken hand (which he got when he slipped on a banana skin putting the bins out – very Rock ‘n’ Roll!) and if Paul was in pain he didn’t show it. The show must go on! There She Goes Again came nextAnyone who has been to see The Quireboys before will know that Spike is a bit of a comedian and, he informed us that there was a strict curfew, as we were in a house of learning before asking ‘Guy Griffin. Did you go to University?’ Griff’s reply ‘The university of life’ then Spike asked us to give it up for the best dancer in the Quireboys Nick Mailing before the band launched into Roses and Rings.

The Quireboys
The Quireboys

Spike told us that when The Quireboys reformed in 2001 they brought out the album This is Rock ‘n’ Roll which they have recently re-released, and that they would come out and sign every copy bought tonight. Paul and Griff were both on slide guitar for this one and Spike, who kept twirling his mic stand round,  looked to be having a really good rock ‘n’ roll time. Who wouldn’t? This is a really great fun upbeat song guaranteed to get your feet tapping or your hands clapping, and everyone was clapping along in time to the beat, prompting Spike to say ‘If you can’t clap your hands, let me see your drink in the air’ this song got lots of applause and a ‘Thank you’ from Spike ‘This is Rock ‘n’ Roll on a Sunday’ and he told us that the next one was a beautiful song, so good that they recorded it twice on……… but he couldn’t remember which albums, luckily Griff did ‘Homewreckers and Heartbreakers’ (2008) and ‘Halfpenny Dancer’ (2009) and Mona Lisa Smiled is indeed a beautiful song, which showcased Spike’s gravelly vocals perfectly.

The Quireboys
The Quireboys – Spike throws his red carnation out into the audience

Whipping Boy saw Griff at the front playing some great riffs and Dave drumming so hard he had to stand up. I Don’t Love You Anymore had everyone singing along and Spike said at the end ‘It’s alright. I’m over her now!’ Tramps and Thieves was then followed by another Quireboys classic Hey You. Spike announced ‘It’s Janey’s birthday. Happy Birthday’ and everyone joined the band to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Janey. The next song Stubborn Kinda Heart with a county vibe is another track from the latest album ‘Black Eyed Sons‘ Next came a song which Spike dedicated as ‘This is for all you married couples out there’ which he quickly countered by ‘Who gets married these days’ the title track from the album they released last year Beautiful Curse and after that one Spike said ‘Cheers everybody’ and saluted us with his (according to him) alcohol free beer (and, of course, we all bought that one!). He said it was ‘So nice to see so many happy faces on a Sunday. It’s like being in the Church of Rock’ then asked us for a Yee Haw before one from their album ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’ Sweet Mary Ann, which starts off slowly then speeds up into a great foot tapping number. After this fast one there could only be one song to end the set, one which Keith Weir, with his three notes doesn’t need a right hand for! (Spike’s words not mine!) and that song was, of course, 7 O’Clock which had Spike on his accordion and even though he replaced the words ‘dirty device’ with a dirty laugh, I and others, knew where they were, so they still got sung! ‘Thank you’ said Spike ‘ Good night and God bless you’ and that ended another great set from The Quireboys and off stage they went.

The Quireboys
The Quireboys

After shouts for more they came back on stage and with his Geordie accent still evident Spike told us ‘I’m from Newcastle. I wrote a song’ and ‘It’s exactly the same in Manchester, always raining! What else is there to so except have a drink, a laugh and a good time’ (see The Quireboys?) ‘Manchester. I love this dirty town’ Spike looked happy to be up on that stage, in this dirty town (and it really was raining outside) and afterwards he said ‘That’s on the CD with the right words’ but what’s wrong with a bit of jamming and a word change? I didn’t notice the change in lyrics anyway. I was too busy having a good time! After that Spike asked ‘Do you want to come to a party? Keith Weir’s Sex Party?’ ‘Manchester, let me hear you scream’ some loud whoops ensued and the Sex Party began and during the party we were introduced to the band. ‘On the piano, Mr Keith Weir’ ‘From Glasgow, on the drums, Mr Dave McCluskey’ ‘The best dancer in The Quireboys’ history Mr Nick Mailing’ ‘With his broken hand, Mr Paul Guerin’ and ‘My partner in crime for thirty years, Mr Guy Griffin’ and Spike’s final words ‘God bless you. Thank you for keeping Rock ‘n’ Roll alive with The Quireboys’ and the party ended until next time, and there will be a next time for me!

After the show I spoke to a couple of long time Quireboys supporters. Sonia, who first saw them in 1989 and has seen them too many times to count said she thought it had been a good mix of old stuff and newer stuff. A set that would please everyone. Janey, who was celebrating her Fiftieth birthday, and had brought her seventeen year old daughter along, said she’d really enjoyed it, then she always has a blast at a Quireboys show. Another of PlanetMosh’s glamorous blonde writers was in the audience, here’s what my esteemed colleague Dennis Jarman had to say “I first saw The Quireboys about  five years into their thirty year career, have never seen them play a bad gig and tonight was no exception at the near full Manchester Academy 3. A rabid crowd lapped up every song and almost drowned out Spike for I Don’t Love You Anymore. Not just for the chorus, but the whole song! As usual, Spike had us in the palm, from the off, with the harder songs rocking us out and the softer ones tugging at the heart strings. After the set they came out to the merch stall to sign CD’s and have pictures taken. Nice to see a band not charging for a meet and greet these days. Looking forward to the next tour already!”

The title track of their latest re-release This is Rock ‘n’ Roll (reviewed here) contains the lyrics ‘We are gods standing tall’ and it’s fair to say that their star does seem to be rising. The ‘Rock Gods’ that are The Quireboys are riding the crest of a wave at the moment and, after yet another great show, they deserve the recognition at last! I only have one complaint – where was my invite to the Sex Party! ;)

Spike - The Quireboys
Spike – The Quireboys

Set List:
Too Much of a Good Thing
There She Goes Again
Roses and Rings
This is Rock ‘n’ Roll
Mona Lisa Smiled
Whipping Boy
I Don’t Love You Anymore
Tramps and Thieves
Hey You
Stubborn Kinda Heart
Beautiful Curse
Sweet Mary Ann
7 O’Clock
I Love This Dirty Town
Sex Party

The Quireboys
The Quireboys

Band Members:
Spike – Vocals
Guy Griffin – Guitar
Paul Guerin – Guitar
Keith Weir – Keyboards
Dave McCluskey – Drums
Nick Mailing – Bass


The Quireboys on Facebook:

Review of the gig, and photos to illustrate the review are from Manchester Academy 3 on 16th November 2014. Photos in gallery below from Sheffield Corporation on 29th November 2014. All by Louise Swift.

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About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!
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