The Quireboys, Red White & Blues and Gentlemen of Distorted Sound - Manchester MOHO Live, 29.11.11
MOHO Live is quite an odd looking venue from the outside, more akin to an old warehouse or factory, like any average old Manchester building perhaps. Inside, it’s newly decorated with tv screens advertising drinks and events behind the bar, “modern art” on one wall, metal girders for columns (and mind the stairs at the entrance if you’re after a few drinks). Tonight, it was filling up with mostly older rocker types, with perhaps more women than men (as is usual at a Quireboys gig!).
The first band on is Gentlemen of Distorted Sound (“G.o.D.S.” - clever, eh?). G.o.D.S. take a lot of influence from classic rock, but they manage to put their own spin on it quite successfully. Their sound is quite bluesy, with a bit of the sleazier side of things thrown in. A few audience members don’t quite know what to make of them - some laugh at the “tail” clipped to guitarist Mako’s jeans when he has his back turned. But they put on a great show and play a good set of songs from their EP, including one (I didn’t catch the title) that dealt with the end of the world as predicted by the Mayans.
After a short gap, Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man” begins to play over the venue. This confuses some in attendance as the song used to be The Quireboy’s intro song, but they have changed it this time around. Instead, the second band of the night, Red White and Blues, begin playing at the lights switch on. Another classic rock influenced band, but in more obvious ways than G.o.D.S.. To begin with, the old style Thin Lizzy set up - a singer who also plays bass. A number of their songs have the “feel” of someone else’s, such as one that begins with similar chords to the classic standard “House of the Rising Sun” - prompting an audience member to sing said song over the band. Although they’re slightly unoriginal, I was still willing to give them a chance: the songs were catchy and the band looked like they were enjoying themselves. My initial hopefulness was dashed as they played a bluesy song named “Red White & Blues” (named after them or are they named after the song?), which was quite a good song until one particular line which referred to a woman as a “piece of ass”. Lovely. A bit too cliche sleazy-classic rock-esque for me.
By the time The Quireboys’ new intro song, “Big Spender” by Shirley Bassey, began, the MOHO was quite full and plenty of drinks had been consumed, so a number of audience members were singing along, setting a happy and excitable mood for the rest of the gig. The Quireboys took to the stage amidst plenty of cheers to play their first song "I Love This Dirty Town", followed by Faces-esque“Misled” (“Had Me A Real Good Time” anyone?). The set was a great assortment of old and new, sure to please anyone from casual listener to committed fan: from hits “7 O'Clock” and “Hey You”, to tracks that are often overlooked such as “Can’t Park Here” and “White Trash Blues” (both, coincidentally, from 1993’s “Bitter, Sweet and Twisted”), to highlights from recent(ish) releases “Mona Lisa Simled” and “Lorraine Lorraine” (complete with an intriguing story from Spike Gray concerning getting blind drunk and taking a woman home, only to find out she’s not a woman at all…ooh er!).
The band are in good spirits, despite a 5 hour trip across the stormy Irish Sea earlier in the day, and their good mood is reflected in the audience. Manchester is treated to two new songs, the 1st city in England to hear them live. Both go down well with the crowd, “Too Much of a Good Thing” has plenty dancing and the ballad “Mother Mary” momentarily subdued the crowd who hardly made a sound (listening intently, I hope and assume). If the rest of the as yet unnamed album is just as good, it would surely be one of the best Quireboys albums thus far. We shall have to wait and see!
“This is Rock'n'Roll” is the night’s encore and I have to say it felt like it was all over too soon as the band left the stage, the cheering died down, the lights went up and the place cleared out.
Words and photos by Becky Martin.