The London Quireboys pulverize Vancouver (and Long John Baldry) with irresistible barroom boogie


By Steve Newton

Rock critics are human too—they make mistakes. Like when I first saw the London Quireboys via their video for “7 O’clock”. I figured they were just too much of a blatant Faces rip-off—right down to the guitarist’s Ron Wood-type top hat. I even turned down the prospect of an interview with the band. Then I heard the entire A Bit of What You Fancy CD, and realized the band was killer in its own right.

Now I feel like a real goof.

Vancouver rock lovers had better sense, and they squeezed into a sweaty, sold-out 86 Street last Saturday (August 11). The band’s stage was set up to resemble the interior of a pub, with wooden pillars, dart board, painted-on red curtains behind the drums, and a chalkboard that read “Rhythm ’n’ Blues Night—Quireboys”.

With local R&B ace Long John Baldry grooving along from the wings, the Quireboys pulverized the crowd with a raggedy brand of rhythm ’n’ boogie that brought to mind the overpowering frenzy of Aerosmith at its best.

Like the Bit of What You Fancy album, the Quireboys’ show was a virtual non-stop assault of gravelly vocals, grinding guitars, and honky-tonk piano. Tunes like “Hey You”, “Sex Party”, and “Long Time Comin’” built up to the much-anticipated “7 O’clock”, which had people dancing on chairs and being tossed off the stage. The band gave a nod to its roots with rabid encores of the Stones’ “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” and Willie Dixon’s “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man”.

And just so you know, the Black Crowes’ show the next night at Club Soda offered the same delightful excursion into the outer reaches of gutsy, tear-’em-up rock. Luckily the Crowes and Quireboys weren’t booked for the same night, or a lot of folks would have been wishing for clones. As it was, last weekend’s boogie double-header will prove hard to duplicate.

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