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The Quireboys + Pig Iron + Massive + Tequila Mockingbyrd

Saturday 14th September 2019

O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London

Wouldn't it be great if four of your favourite bands chose to do a gig in one of your favourite venues on a warm Summer Saturday night. And then go to that gig with your regular gigging mates and drink a few beers and just get lost in the vibe of a great night out. Well that is what is happening tonight. A quartet of quite quintessentially quality acts to leave us quivering and quaking whilst quaffing ales without qualms. Sorry - my alliteration button got stuck. Lets crack on shall we.
With four bands on the menu, we have an early start with the ever evolving Tequila Mockingbyrd first up. The current incarnation is a mix up of the original TM line up and The Amorettes who merged recently. Tonight we are also blessed with Sam Wood on lead guitar from Wayward Sons and Ben Chalker on bass standing in. And they give us a short set of Rocking goodness, a mix of Mockingbyrd and Amorette staples, which nicely warms the slowly filling arena. The sound is classic Les Paul through Marshall amps - a combination that is consistent throughout the evening - with vocalist and guitarist Gill Montgomery sporting a battered JHS Vintage Les Paul - a favourite guitar brand of mine used by headliners The Quireboys. Geek moment over. Josie O'Toole, the sole remaining member of the Tbyrds, sits behind the drum kit, head down, hair flying, defying her diminutive stature to provide a huge sonic presence. Their short set includes tracks like 'Jagerbomb' and 'Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock And Roll)', but it's closing track 'I Smell Rock N Roll' that gets the best reaction from a swelling crowd. "Wow. Just wow." to quote them.
Tequila Mockingbyrd setlist:
Money Tree
Never Go Home
Enjoy the Ride
Let the Neighbours Call the Cops
(The Amorettes cover)
Somebody Put Something in My Drink
Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock and Roll) (The Amorettes cover) Good Time I Smell Rock N Roll
Next up are Massive, the four piece Aussie Rockers, who have been 'drinkin beers and smashing ears since 2012'. Massive’s lead singer Brad Marr is anything but, although his voice surely is. The hard drinking frontman totes the filthiest white Gibson SG, which squeals with trademark Ozzy Rock pedigree, whilst emitting a quite remarkably powerful and versatile voice. On more than one occasion during the short set Marr holds an endless and perfect note that suggests the lungs in his chest possibly extend as far down as his ever moving feet. The Marr duck walk highlights that, under the power and the glory, Massive are a Rock and Roll band. With classic Rock and Roll we get classic drumstick twirling from Andrew Greentree and a novel sight of all three guitarists, including bassist Tommy Sunset, playing their guitars behind their heads. The now full auditorium lapped up the good time feel and loudly applauded the band who had driven all night from supporting Phil Campbell in Germany the previous night and were off to play the Raismes festival in France the following night. 
They quote their home town as 'The tour van' on their website. Nuff said. Marr shows his drinking prowess by playing one handed whilst downing a pint with the other. As he quips when introducing the band, but mostly introducing himself, "It’s all about me". That’s not strictly true as guitarist Ben Laguda is a force to be reckoned with. And whilst his guitar isn’t a home for bubonic plague like Marr’s, both guitars are notable for having untrimmed strings sprouting out of their headstocks like a middle aged man’s ear hair. Petty, I know, but once seen, you can’t unsee it. I guess that’s because Massive are so Rock and Roll they don’t conform to the rules. Or maybe they have been so damn busy they haven’t had the time. Tracks include 'Dancefloor' which really isn’t something you dance to - you devastate a mosh pit to it. And 'Generation Riot' from their new album 'Rebuild Destroy' which has an almost Motorhead vibe to it. Closer 'Long Time Coming' is also from the new album and shows why this hard working band are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Massive Setlist:
Generation Riot
Blood Money Blues
One by One
Long Time Coming
London's Pig Iron are a completely different cafetiere of cod. Where Massive are fun and frolics, Pig Iron are a kick in the bollocks. The four piece have an indefinitely more Doomy sound to them although with vocalist Johnny Ogle frequently playing accompaniment on harmonica, Rich Groom's thundering Les Paul riffs are given a slight Southern edge, with just a touch of Deliverance about it. Hugh Gilmour is the huge cowboy hatted bassist playing the obligatory matching Rickenbacker and Joe Smith manages to survive on the drumkit. Its a sharp contrast to Massive but enjoyable nonetheless. I have listened many times to their 'Blues + Power = Destiny' album and 'Lord Kill the Pain' from 'The Law and the Road Are One' EP is a favourite, so to hear it played live as a closer to another short set was a real treat.

Pig Iron setlist:
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Ruler of Tomorrow
Hellacious Days
Another Mule
Wildcat Bird Head
Biker Lord
Lord Kill the Pain
Guns 'N' Ammo
What can you say about The Quireboys that does them justice? A band that always features in my top ten of music choices, the lads are tonight celebrating 35 years since the release of their defining album 'A Bit Of What You Fancy'. And we are getting to hear that album in its entirety along with a number of their later classics. As they enter the stage, the screen above them crackles to life with the 80's sound track to Top Of The Pops and Yewtree-free DJ Gary Davies announcing their slot on the show that heralded their coming to the public's attention. The gypsy styled troubadours, dressed in suits and scarves, launch into the first of many favourites, 'Hey You'. The now packed audience, including the VIP elite seated upstairs, launch into the form for the evening of Rocking and singing along with gusto. After the heaviness of Pig Iron, we are back to the feel good fun factor as front man Spike takes his usual tipsy stance centre stage, sporting his trademark headscarf and buttonhole flower. He is just the same character as he was back on that BBC stage although a little older and his voice is not pushed as hard as it once was. But it still has the power or the softness as the song dictates, and is still full of the cheeky Geordie charm. There is constant good natured banter between Spike and lead guitarist Guy Griffin, as well as the rest of the band, with the audience often included. We almost felt like the 7th member of the band.
Guitarists Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin both sport those aforementioned beautiful Vintage Guitars - Guy often using a T-type when not sporting a Les Paul -  whilst Dave McCluskeys drum kit is festooned with fairy lights that somehow seems so in keeping with The Quireboys vibe. With Nick Mailing on bass and Keith Weir on keys the line-up is complete. And whilst mentioning Mr. Weir, it is important to note how much his honky tonk keys contribute to the feel good Rock and Roll sound that is The Quireboys. Tonight’s sound is ok although gets a little muddy at times but with the crowd singing, and the Rocking in full swing, it doesn't detract from what is one of the best sets I have seen the boys play. Not so much from the quality of the performance, which is a given, but from the setlist. It's the entirety of their greatest album FFS! Sorry, slipped in an acronym there, must be the excitement. You know it's a top set when '7 O'clock' is played mid set. 
Ordinarily I make copious notes whilst reviewing gigs but the 90 minutes just flew by as I got lost in my favourite songs so my pencil remained unlicked. Check out the set list for full details but suffice it to say it was hit after hit great songs that left my voice sounding like Spike does on a good day - Bonny Tyler and Rod Stewart's love child on Marlborough Reds. Spike’s ongoing banter with the crowd was as natural as a chat down the pub - we all raise our glasses with him on every possible occasion. Between every song, virtually. The clearly adoring fans are enraptured by what is The Quireboys firing on all cylinders and showing their very best. You could even describe it as emotional, although the bands sense of fun would never let anything get too heavy. As an encore we all get invited to a 'Sex Party' - its not just part of the VIP package - before they finish with 'Mayfair', their very first single from 1987. And a couple of confetti cannons to send us on our way. They are the canines cajones.
So five hours after entering the Forum, we all file out again, a little more tired, a little more deaf and a lot more happy. This is Rock and Roll - it says so on my Quireboys t-shirt. As I head home I try to think up some detailed explanation of how good the night was so I can put these words together. I try and think of some short sentence or saying that sums up great music, great bonhommie, great fun. Should I go to some ridiculously long alliteration with every word I can think of starting with the letter Q? Why bother, when its summed up nicely in one word. Quireboys. This IS Rock and Roll.
The Quireboys setlist:
Hey You
There She Goes Again
Roses & Rings
Man on the Loose
Take Me Home
Sweet Mary Ann
Whippin' Boy
I Don't Love You Anymore
Long Time Comin'
7 O'Clock
Mona Lisa Smiled
Seven Deadly Sins
Original Black Eyed Son
This Is Rock 'N' Roll
Sex Party

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