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Review: The Quireboys, The Cluny, Newcastle

Spike and his fellow Quireboys stirred up nostalgia and gave  Simon Rushworth and the rest of the audience what it wanted

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Spike performing with The Quireboys
Spike performing with The Quireboys

According to those in the know, 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the Quireboys. According to Spike, the numbers don’t add up, but then maths has never been the genial Geordie’s strongpoint.

His strengths lie in his ability to entertain a packed house – and a hometown crowd was putty in his hands.

Throw in the fact that this was the final night of an 18-date run of UK shows and the Newcastle-born singer was ready to party.

However, in Edinburgh 48 hours earlier, the band had been far more relaxed and the banter poured forth. Perhaps it was the presence of close family and friends that occasionally stem­med the flow here.

But the music was the focus in front of the Cluny faithful and, in an acoustic setting, many of the band’s biggest hits and favourite rarities were given room to breathe.

Stripped of a rhythm section, the spotlight was on two acoustic guitars, a simple keyboard and Spike’s trademark, husky tones. It worked a treat – even when Spike’s niece Frankie (who opened the night with a set of haunting folk rock) joined guitarist Paul Guerin’s stepson Zander for a stirring mid-set cameo. A true family affair, and it was clear the band’s legacy will live on.

Right now the emphasis is on celebrating 30 years in the business and building on the momentum that has seen the Quireboys enjoy their longest period of sustained success since their early 1990s’ heyday.

Last year’s acclaimed Beautiful Curse album will be followed by another in July and, for the first time in years, Spike and his pals are complementing killer live shows with brilliant new music.

The title track from their most recent long player, plus the spine-tingling Twenty Seven Years, Mother Mary and Chain Smokin’ (reborn in the live arena), offered ample evidence of a songwriting quartet on fire.

However, this was also a night about nostalgia. Roses And Rings, Devil Of A Man and set closer I Don’t Love You Anymore proved the Quireboys have always been a cut above when it comes to heart-wrenching rock and roll.

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