The Quireboys playing Glasgow in a brewery on a Friday night is pretty much the perfect ingredients for a night out. Or a very messy one given that it’s the definition of the phrase “piss-up in a brewery”. Regardless, it’s good-time rock and roll and a good use of a great space in town. With their latest album Amazing Disgrace having had a hell of a lease of life so far, and far more room to breathe since its release was a couple of days before their last visit to Glasgow.
Firstly, we have Alan Clayton of The Dirty Strangers providing tonight’s support (and for the next couple of dates). Armed with only his acoustic guitar, the Southern rock/Americana tones of the music work well. Grungy and bluesy at other points, the poignant notes of the lyrics can hit hard at times and the best bit about it all is the authenticity of the performance. Clayton is joined by half of The Quireboys for the last couple of songs, bulking everything out. It works well and the enraptured audience seem disappointed when Clayton and the others leave the stage. Indeed, despite the sombre start to the evening, it goes down well with the appreciative audience and just as the ball is well and truly rolling, it ends. More than anything, though, it shows how versatile a Quireboys support act can be and it doesn’t need to be a certain type of act.
Pulling no punches with the opener of “I Love This Dirty Town”, The Quireboys announce their arrival. And immediately, they make it known that no matter when you see them, they give it their all. Bristling with energy, their self-styled gypsy rock and roll is perfect for a party atmosphere, regardless of what night of the week they’re playing. Thankfully, with more time to play with than last time, there’s more opportunities to air some more Amazing Disgrace numbers such as “Seven Deadly Sins”, “Sinner Serenade” and “Eve of the Summertime” and they go down just as well as the classic songs like “There She Goes Again”, “This is Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Hey You”.
Whilst they’re hit with technical problems to begin with, they don’t miss a step. And whilst the stage may not be the biggest they’ve played (and definitely not the smallest – that goes to The Bungalow), they’re still able to infuse their performance with their trademark energy, even if they’re forced to be a touch more static than usual. Characteristically bombastic, they make it work and the power and passion of their performance more than makes up for it.
And whilst the majority of those classic numbers from the debut feature, there’s also the modern classics of “Mona Lisa Smiled” and “Hello”. However, in all the times I’ve seen The Quireboys (and I’d wager it’s probably a couple of dozen at this point), I’d never seen them play the under-rated “Man on the Loose” before. Likely inspired by playing A Bit of What You Fancy in full earlier this year in London, it’s aired here and its darker, grungier tone than a classic Quireboys tune works well in the live environment. Naturally, “Sweet Mary Ann” features Keith Weir’s “big moment” and the request of what the time is (for the uninitiated, the answer you’re looking for is “7 O’Clock”).
Going non-stop for ninety minutes with the classic banter and songs, it still evokes the laughs, the applause and singalongs. Playing entirely to their faithful audience, The Quireboys haven’t rested on their laurels these past few years – though with their creative purple patch, they’d be more than entitled to. As tight as they’ve ever been as a live unit, hitting all the usual marks without feeling like going through the motions, they always guarantee a good night.
Header image by Gary Cooper