Monday, 15 September 2014

17/10/2013 The Quireboys & Bonafide @ Islington Academy

I've been wanting to see Swedish rockers Bonafide for some time and tonight they are part of a excellent bill in Islington, but first thing's first - beer! I'm not paying £4+ for a pint of piss in a floppy plastic glass in the venue, so as usual a bunch of us are in the nearby Wetherspoons before the show for some much better beverages at a far lower price - without having to fight to get served.

I like Bonafide although some of my friends are less than impressed and find them a bit generic. I can understand this, for much the same reasons as some people don't like Airbourne. It's true there is nothing new here, but surely exactly the same can be said for tonight's headliners? Bonifide take most (if not all) their inspiration from 1970's/80's hard rock - for both their look and their sound. AC/DC are the most obvious influence - imagine Airbourne but with better vocals (not difficult) and you are in the same ball park.
Bonafide have a pretty good sound and perform well - almost a little too polished, but they certainly have been around long enough to know exactly what they are doing. Their songs don't seem as memorable as I'm expecting from the one or two I've heard on the radio though.
Bonafide certainly aren't re-inventing the wheel or anything, but I find it an entertaining show and I think I'd go and see them again - they are back for a headline tour of their own in March...

The Quireboys certainly aren't re-inventing the wheel either, but that wheel thing seems to work pretty good already. And if it ain't broke - don't fix it. The Quireboys wheels are 'well oiled' and they (rock &) roll very smoothly these days. This hasn't always been the case, from being a bit sloppy and ramshackle in their early day, to a middle period of being rather average in spite of having some great songs. For a few years now they have really been at the top of their game - you won't find a better Stones/Faces style rock 'n' roll band anywhere. So what time is it? It's time for a party!
No one does good time rock 'n' roll better than the Quireboys. Nowadays they are quite a polished act, but what makes them such a great band to go and see is the quality of their songs and the terrific atmosphere they create. And of course it helps that in Spike they have one of the best frontmen around - and that voice. What on Earth were The Faces thinking when they got Mick Hucknal in when Rod Stewart couldn't be arsed to do it? Spike was so obviously the only man for the job - whether he would have actually done it if they had asked him is another matter... I'd rather be watching the Quireboys in a smaller venue like this than this than The Faces in some bland enormo-dome anyway. There is a new bass player in the band. Again. The band seem to be going through about one a year these days. I don't know who the new guy is, but I've seen him at the 100 Club playing six string guitar in two different bands in one night - he gets around! I didn't manage to get a decent picture with him in though.
The Quireboys have quite a rich back catalogue to draw from these days with six studio albums under their belt - it was only a couple of years or so ago when they did the now common trick of playing one of their albums in full at a show - this worked particularly well for them on their first album 'A Bit Of What You Fancy' as it's still their finest collection of songs to date. However, each of the albums that have followed have had some excellent songs on - although the band seem to be heading in a less rock 'n' roll and more country-rock direction with the last couple. Fortunately they don't resort to the now all to common trick of performing an acoustic mid-part of their set - they have enough strong songs not to resort to things like that. Obviously we do still get some ballads and slower numbers in the set tonight, but to be fair I reckon that the finest song they have ever written is a ballad - 'I Don't Love You Anymore' from their first album. Overall the pace tonight is more up-tempo though.

The band's excellent debut album is heavily featured in the set - most of the songs on it get an airing. That's only to be expected as most their best songs are on that record, although there are plenty of good songs on their other albums that get played tonight too. Although other slower paced songs like 'Mona Lisa Smiled' fill out the evening there are plenty of rockers too - and to me this is what the band do best. Obviously we get 'The Hits' like '7 O'Clock', 'Hey You', 'There She Goes Again', 'Tramps and Thieves', 'Wild Wild Wild', 'This Is Rock 'N' Roll', 'Good To See Ya', and 'Black Mariah', as well as some stuff from the two more recent albums. It's an excellent night as usual at a Quireboys gig, and I'm sure everyone goes home (or back to the pub) happy.

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