The Quireboys/Last Great Dreamers – Ahoghill, Diamond Rock Club – 7 April 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Saturday, 22 April 2017 05:00

 It’s very rarely that a band, any band, plays two shows back to back, on consecutive nights, in the same venue – nevermind one which is a small club in, quite frankly, in the arse end of nowhere…


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But, I’ve pontificated on many previous occasions (and probably will do so many times in the future) about the attraction of the tiny Diamond Rock Club in the County Antrim village of Ahoghill, and so it should not really have been a surprise that Spike and his band of troubadours chose to stay for the weekend and throw not one but two rock ‘n’ roll parties as part of their seemingly neverending ‘Twisted Love’ European tour.


Now, in an ideal world, your UR team would have been present on both occasions, especially as we love a party, and even more so when it’s thrown by The Quireboys: but, as there was the small matter of judging duties in the first semi-final of the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition on the Friday evening, we had to content ourselves with joining in somewhat belatedly for the second show…


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Also along for the ride on this occasion are renascent retrosexuals Last Great Dreamers. Now, for those not familiar with the band’s history, they were one of the “nearly boys” of the mid-1990s, releasing one terrific debut album before calling it a day. Then, in 2014, they re-appeared from the obscurity of rock ‘n’ roll oblivion (read our interview to find out more) – and, quite literally, haven’t looked back since.


Your UR pairing first came across them at last year’s Steelhouse Festival, and then when they played two sets in one night at last month’s HRH AOR shebang, and so we had been looking forward to catching up them a bit closer to home. And, our anticipation was handsomely rewarded as, after all these year, they once again exude the sort of raw punk energy that ensures they are still down with the ‘Oblivion Kids’.


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They keep up an unrelenting pace, trying to cram as much music as possible into their time slot: they race through ‘No1 Wonderboy’ and (DQ’s personal favourite) ‘Ashtray Eyes’ take us to the ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ with its ‘White Light, Black Heart’, their trashy messiness filled with big choruses, while also displaying a cheeky Cockney-esque humour that belies their Welsh roots. This is the sort of music designed for hot and sweaty back alley clubs: the only thing missing is the back alley! It’s rowdy, it’s rambunctious and it definitely gets you dancing. It’s the shabby glam of T-Rex mixed with spunk of Mott and The Faces and the spit and verve of The Damned, all rolled into one glorious brawl ‘n’ roll party soundtrack. The perfect kick off for the evening.


Last Great Dreamers play the Camden Rocks festival on Saturday 3 June.


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It could be argued that, if Last Great Dreamers had not knocked it on the head as prematurely as they did, then it would have been inevitable that they would have hooked up with The Quireboys on a road trip at some stage. It could further be argued that, back in the day, this tour billing quite possible would have been reversed… but, here we are, some two decades down the line, and what for many 20 years ago would have been a dream bill has finally come together, with the Dreamers serving up the appetizer to the ‘Boys’ main course…


The bespoke venue is rammed to capacity by the time opener ‘Twisted Love’ just that, twisting and winding it’s rock ‘n’ roll lurv machine around the room. And if Spike and the lads then you can have ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’, then they have been severely ‘Misled’: they should know better by now!


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Spike, playing up his image and reputation, is having technical problems of a genuine sort: “this mic stand is fucked… the story of me life,” he proclaims, before in turn declaring ‘There She Goes Again’, the first big leery pop of the night. After regaling us with the tale of ‘Gracie B’, Spike has another assertion for us: “This In Rock ‘N’ Roll” he croakily shouts… and never a truer word has been spoken.


When this pair of shows were announced, they had been billed as offering two completely sets of songs: however, according to friends who had been at the previous evening’s gig, they so far have stuck to the same running order. But, they do have a few surprises in store, as, after the gracefully rugged beauty of ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’, they offer us the romp ‘n’ stomp of ‘White Trash Blues’, given a rare airing, perhaps in preparation for their blues set at the summer’s Ramblin’ Man Fair.


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Of course, Spike has a reputation to live up to – that of being one of the hardest drinkers on the scene. And, as mentioned above, he certainly knows how to put the accompanying show on, as two pints of Guinness arrive at the front of the stage: the frontman promptly proceeds to neck his, while Guy Bailey is a bit more circumspect in his polite sipping!


In between the expected “big hits”, such as ‘Tramps & Thieves’, the roof-raising ‘Hey You’, ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ and the resurrected ‘Roses & Rings’, there are still a few surprises, such as ‘Lorraine Lorraine’ from Spike’s ‘Well Oiled’ solo album, thrown unexpectedly into the mix but fitting like a glove. The references to women continue with ‘Sweet Mary Ann’, which Spike introduces by paying congnisance to their surroundings: “this is a big country and western town – Liam Neeson told me so!” Hey, it’s a Mick Foley-esque cheap pop, but wtf, this is rock ‘n’ roll and Spike, you haven’t wrenched out our hearts ‘cos we still luv ya, ha hallion!


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As the main set comes to a close, it may be pushing the midnight hour but, as far is everyone here is concerned it’s ‘7 O’Clock’ and it’s time for a party… well, we’ve been doing that all night, and we’re going to continue so, especially when Slyder and Marc Valentine take to the stage again for the finale of ‘Sex Party’. And, no matter what type of party it is, you can always guarantee it’s gonna be a rowdy one when The Quireboys are in town, and tonight was no exception… and apparently it carried on well into the wee small hours – but we had a beer bus to catch! Boo! We could have partied all night…


The UK leg of the tour continues tonight (Saturday) at The Corporation in Sheffield before finishing (for the time being anyway) at Yardbirds in Grimsby tomorrow.


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