On an incredibly squally night The Joiners has a cosy air of expectancy about it, along with the quiet buzz of a social gathering where everyone knows everyone, as indeed they seem to. Support Curran play a nice little entree set, a mix of covers and original material that sits together nicely from ‘Rockin’ in the Free World‘ and ‘Rosalie‘, to their own ‘My Love won’t Let You Down‘ and latest single ‘Run Back to You‘. Although clearly not well known to the audience they had surely gained some new fans by the close.
The only thing missing when The Quireboys arrive on stage is fug of cigarette smoke creating a true smoky dive atmosphere, and I mean that in a good way. The stripped back stage, no backdrop, minimal amps and no drums are most assuredly back to basics. Why do a low key acoustic tour? Paul Guerin shed some light on it when we discussed touring in an interview I did with him last year “I love it, love it love it, love it. I love being with the lads, I love playing, I love meeting the people, it’s where I want to be.” And that’s the essence of tonight’s gig, this is a band who have been together for 30 years, they genuinely like each other, and they want to be on the road together and have a good time.
Without the trappings of the rock show we get the full force of what an accomplished band they are, Spike‘s husky growl makes it difficult to believe that ‘Mona Lisa Smiled‘ is not a cover of a Faces song. The bluesy ‘Whipping Boy‘ is like melted chocolate oozing into your ears, and Paul Guerin‘s love of the Blues is realised in the beautiful guitar work in this song. Spike is charming and witty and Paul and Griff throw in dry one-liners making the between song chat as entertaining as the music itself, add in the good natured heckling from the fans and this gig is as intimate as you could wish for.
The invitation to raises glasses and ‘Have a drink with me‘ takes on the air of good friends at a party genuinely loving being with each other, glasses are held aloft, they sway to the music and come in on the chorus’, The Quireboys are a band truly connected with their audience and it’s a clearly a two-way love affair. And finally, as everyone goes once more into the howling , rainy February night,they go wrapped up in a warm comforting, blanket of acoustic loveliness and who can wish for more?