The Quireboys Acoustic Gig At Bannermans Edinburgh
And so decibelROGUE’s gig coverage of 2016 came to an end last Thursday night with an acoustic gig at our favourite Edinburgh music bar, Bannermans. Although you’d normally expect to see a band like The Quireboys rocking up to a much larger venue with a full band wielding electrically-assisted instruments, in recent times they have become renowned for their intimate, unplugged performances.
Before we get to our headliners though, I’d like to tell you about Thursday’s support band, The Gloria Story. The term ‘instantly likeable’ is one which could have been invented for Filip Rapp and his band. Hailing from Skövde in Sweden, The Gloria Story are heavily influenced by 70’s hard rock and are currently enjoying their first ever tour of the UK.
Performing here as a three-piece, The Gloria Story opened with the wonderfully-titled Crusty Pie. Although it’s probably the most un-rock ‘n’ roll song title I’ve ever heard, it set the scene for what was a really entertaining set. The band’s 70’s hard rock influences bubbled away beneath the surface throughout their performance, but really shone through in songs like Road Trip and Whiteman Blues (and of course the delicious Crusty Pie!). Frontman Filip Rapp’s powerful voice is one of the most impressive I’ve heard in ages, and in this stripped-back acoustic environment was the standout aspect of their performance. Check out their latest album Greetings From Electric Wasteland. It may very well be the hard rockin’ party album you’ve been looking for!
And then it was The Quireboys’ turn to work their way through the Bannermans audience and take to the stage. This isn’t the first time decibelROGUE has covered one of their shows, so you can probably guess that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to look at their performances from a truly objective point of view. Especially given the fact that the previous shows we’ve been lucky enough to cover, both acoustic and full band, have been so damned good! Thursday’s set contained a mixture of original acoustic material and unplugged versions of some of their all-electric songs. And once again it was really cool to have the opportunity to see Spike, Guy Griffin, Paul Guerin and Keith Weir perform at such close quarters.
We were only a couple of songs into their set, during the period when I’m usually in full-blown rock ‘n’ roll photographer mode, when I decided to put the camera down, grab a beer and enjoy the ride instead. Why would I do such a thing? Well, believe it or not it was because of Simple Minds.
Right now you’ll probably be thinking that decibelROGUE has finally flipped, but bear with me on this. A couple of weeks before this gig, I tuned into BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, specifically to watch Jim Kerr and the boys perform a song from their newly released acoustic album. As you may know, this album contains acoustic reworkings of a number of Simple Minds’ iconic hits. And for lifelong fans of the band like yours truly, this TV spot should really have been a performance to savour. Except it wasn’t. Not by a mile. In actual fact I had to change channel mid-song. Think I changed over to the Lancing Septic Boils Channel or something instead.
So what gives? My problem with their performance was that they had stripped back, reworked and reimagined Don’t You (Forget About Me) to the point that they had ripped out the magic which made the original version such a wonderfully iconic song in the first place. It sounded terribly contrived, self-indulged and it felt plain wrong. In short, it was an acoustic adaptation done properly wrong.
Having done the literary equivalent of shooting the family dog, and probably blowing any opportunity of covering future Simple Minds gigs in the process, lets return to Thursday night. The Quireboys really GET what good acoustic rock should be. They’ve been working at it for years, and now have a huge back catalogue of songs which can quite happily exist as acoustic or all electric versions. Does it lessen the enjoyment of songs like 7 O’ Clock that Dave McCluskey (drums) and Nick Mailing (bass) are missing? It’s different for sure, but no. It’s still the rollicking masterpiece that we all know and love. And you can apply that to every song that Spike and the guys played here.
Everything that Simple Minds got wrong in their performance on Strictly, The Quireboys knocked out the park on Thursday night. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to photograph a band throughout their show, so it takes something special to make a music photographer want to down tools and join in the fun. What can I say – The Quireboys are something special.
This is acoustic rock done right!
Check out the dates below for The Quireboys next full band tour. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a ticket while you still can, because these shows WILL sell out.
The Quireboys Fully Plugged Tour Dates April 2017
Fri 7 Diamond Rock Club, Ballymena (Ireland)
Sun 8 Diamond Rock Club, Ballymena (Ireland)
Thu 13 Fibbers, York (UK)
Fri 14 Picturedome, Holmfirth (UK)
Sat 15 Diamond Live, Doncaster (UK)
Thu 20 Lemon Tree, Aberdeen (UK)
Fri 21 Classic Grand, Glasgow (UK)
Sat 22 Riverside, Newcastle (UK)
Sun 23 Academy, Islington (UK)
Thu 27 Thekla, Bristol (UK)
Fri 28 The Asylum, Birmingham (UK)
Sun 30 Yardbirds, Grimsby (UK)
The Quireboys Gallery
The Gloria Story Gallery