Concert Reviews

The Quireboys / Hardcore Superstar Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 31, 2016    
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The Quireboys / Hardcore Superstar - O2 Academy, Islington (UK) - 25 March 2016

There's an instant burst of energy when Hardcore Superstar hit the stage, largely due to their irrepressible front-man Jocke Berg, and after the early appearance of favourite 'My Good Reputation' he proudly announces it's the ten year anniversary of their much loved self-titled album. They then launch into one of their lesser played live tracks from that album, 'Cry Your Eyes Out'. Indeed, the band never get boring or complacent as, even though they have played pretty frequently in recent times, they do put effort into changing the set-list around and substituting songs and never let their intensity drop. Competing for the title of the devil's answer to Tigger, Mr Berg almost loses his trousers at one point during 'Last Call For Alcohol', showing his natty red and black striped undergarments. The band does not omit their traditional drink with the crowd when they all come down to the front and hand out alcohol, giving a democratic, informal and friendly feel to proceedings. The appearance of the nubile Miss Hayley Leggs relieves Adde from the drums for crowd fraternisation. Berg even offers to buy drinks at the bar afterwards, no doubt to encourage audience participation. Building up crowd reaction with 'Moonshine' and 'Wild Boys', he endears himself to the crowd by donning the Union Jack proudly. And, done with style and his head held high, he gets away with it, and following a triumphant version of 'We Don't Celebrate Sundays' and 'Above The Law', he blows a kiss to the crowd. When he shouts "scream for me London" the crowd take the roof off. They leave with "We Are Hardcore Superstar and we are always gonna love London" and it looks like the affair is mutual. Never too proud to make the effort, hardworking and cool, this band are always fun.

Spike of The Quireboys picks up on the energy created by Hardcore Superstar and throws his mike high into the air in celebration. The tinkling ivories on 'Too Much Of A Good Thing' are always a pleasure to hear, reminding us that we are here because these guys are damn fine musicians. Always mindful of history, Spike is quick to pay dues to Bush Telfer in the crowd who started the original Marquee Club and tells the crowd that without him they would never have had Guns 'N' Roses before breaking into 'Misled'. 'Finer Stuff' is indeed appropriately titled and Spike laps up the crowd reaction with his famous open-strided, side to side hop, showing why he's always been a vocalist with charisma and his own style. Sadly, the bass guitar is way too loud on this track and later track 'I Don't Love You Anymore'; it was hurting the audience's ears and one of the crowd was heard to say "I'm a bassist and even I think that bass is too loud". Guy Griffin was not slow to realise, shooting angry glances at the speakers in question. Fortunately, only these two songs were really affected. Guy gave us some fantastic slide guitar in his solo for 'There She Goes Again', before Spike threw his corsage into the crowd in a romantic gesture that reflects the old-school values of this band and its audience. Spike acknowledges the presence of Guy Bailey – the song-writer of the early songs – and they spot him in the crowd due to his large hat. Tribute is also paid to Chris Johnstone, the original and excellent piano man.

Breaking into 'This Is Rock 'N' Roll', Spike thanks the support bands, rueing that they will be in his dressing room drinking his beer. He jokes that the mental Vikings didn't know they would be with two mental Geordies and Guy Griffin from Bedford. He also informs us that St Cecilia is the patron saint of music before launching into the track of that name. 'Tramps And Thieves' keeps the Rock 'n' Roll energy high and although the London crowd is typically muted and needing to be pushed to be vocal, there are at least two fights in the audience with people trying too enthusiastically to get to the front, showing the dedication and enthusiasm is there nevertheless. Spike keeps up the showmanship with his mike thrusting and throwing it into the air for 'Hey You'. He reminds us London is his second home and that he grew up here and then does his mock cowboy impression "yee haw" before 'Maryann'. The audience is required to help with the "woah, woah, woahs" and we are treated to some more exceptional ivories and full-on guitar and vocals. Harmonica is the intro for '7 O'Clock' and after 'I Don't Love You Anymore', the encore is 'Sex Party' complete with support band members and backstage staff. Berg of HCSS takes centre stage for this, Spike graciously allowing him prime position on the mike and all bands bow out on a high. Quireboys are a good time band, guaranteed to perform and bring a smile to the face, true professionals!

Dawn Osborne

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